South Africa SMS messaging regulations and restrictions

Clickatell is a member of the Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) in South Africa and we’re bound by their code of conduct. WASPA was formed in 2004 as a self-regulatory body with a mandate to represent and regulate its voluntary members which provide mobile-based Value-Added Services (VAS), otherwise known as WASPs. For more information, you can view the WASPA code of conduct.

South African SMS messaging supports binary and Unicode, and there are various standard regulations in place regarding message content, shown in the table below. You can also visit the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa online for more information and guidance regarding these restrictions.

Before you start sending it to South Africa, please take note of the complex and important messaging and content restrictions outlined by these regulatory bodies.

We’ll make it simple for you to set up a South Africa messaging program. Our Online Sales team has a solid understanding of the country’s messaging landscape, which means they can easily guide you through the process of setting up your account.


Restriction Description
Time restriction As per the Consumer Protection Act, direct marketing messages may not be sent between 8 pm – 8 am GMT+2.
SenderID Sender ID is not supported in South Africa and SenderIDs will be overwritten with a local number.
Opt-in It is best practice to obtain end-user consent before sending any communication from your service. Unsolicited messages will not be sent to end-users.
Opt-out End-users must be able to withdraw or cancel their consent at any time. You must be able to receive messages in order to process the “STOP” keyword required for users to opt-out of your messaging.
Do not contact list (DNC) All SMS marketing messages will be checked against the DNC list before attempting to deliver them.
Message content The following types of content are not allowed:

  • constitutes offending material;
  • is morally repugnant; or
  • incites violence or desire to cause harm;
  • induces an unacceptable sense of fear or anxiety;
  • encourages or incites any person to engage in dangerous practices or to use harmful substances;
  • induces or promotes tribal or racial disharmony;
  • causes grave or widespread offense; or
  • debases, degrade, or demeans.

Further content regulations to bear in mind:

  • Adult content is not allowed.
  • Dating and personal contact services are subject to various restrictions. Your sales advisor can provide more information.
  • Political content is subject to restrictions in terms of content and timing. Speak to your sales advisor for more information.
  • As per the Consumer Protection Act, direct marketing messages (across all channels) may not be sent between 20:oo and 08:00 (GMT+2).

Terms and conditions for Vodacom (carrier):

The transmission of unsolicited value-added services (VAS) is not permitted unless:

  • You have the express consent of the end-user, or
  • You have a recent prior commercial relationship (of no older than six months) with the end-user and appropriate mechanisms exist for end-users to withdraw or cancel their consent at any time, i.e.: you must be able to receive messages in order to process ‘STOP’ requests sent by end-users.


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