Section Summary: The Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA)

  • South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) regulates PAIA
  • PAIA enacted to give effect to the constitutional right of access to information.
  • PAIA Objectives
    • Promote transparency, accountability and effective governance
    • Assist members of the public to effectively scrutinize and participate in decision making
    • Promotes a human rights culture and social justice
    • Encourage openness
    • Establish voluntary and mandatory mechanisms
  • Public bodies to publish manuals in at least three official languages
  • Manual Needs to have Minimum Information both Public and Private
  • Must be accessible on the website and premises
  • Private entities have compliance thresholds (annual turnover per sector and more than 50 employees)
  • How to make a PAIA request [ Public (Form A – Section 18) and Private (Form C – Section 53)]
  • PAIA stipulates grounds whilst balancing the right to access information with other rights
  • Outlines maximum costs in accessing records
  • Outlines remedies when PAIA request declined by Information Officer
    • Deny access to a record
    • Extend the time to respond to a request
    • Charge a request fee or an access fee
    • Provide access to a record in wrong form than originally requested.
  • Outlines risks of non-compliance
    • Giving information to someone that you should not be giving information to and facing damages claims as a result
    • Opposing applications for access in court.
    • Litigation
  • Penalties non-compliance outlined by section 90 of PAIA
    • a fine, or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years.
  • The Information Regulator will investigate complaints relating to non-compliance with POPIA and PAIA.
  • When all section 32 reports, section 14 manuals and section 51 manuals transfer to the Information Regulator
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