The right of access to information is entrenched under section 32 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Section 32 provides that everyone has the right of access to any information held by state; or held by any other person that is to be used for the protection or exercise of any right.
In terms of PAIA, all sole proprietors, partnerships, trusts, body corporates, close corporations, non-profit companies, public companies and private companies must have a Manual. The Manual must set out the type of records held by the entity, the manner and form of request for access to such records and contact details of the information officer and head of the entity. A manual must be submitted irrespective of whether an entity is trading or dormant.
It further stipulates that the manual must be:
- Available at every office of the entity
- Published on any official website of the entity
- Regularly reviewed and updated
- Submitted to the South African Human Rights Council (‘SAHRC’)
The deadline for adoption of a PAIA Manual was 31 December 2011 but this was extended by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. Private bodies operating in certain sectors now have until 31 December 2015 to submit a PAIA Manual to the SAHRC, depending on their annual turnover.
For further information please visit the SAHRC’s website.
Ensure that your Manual is submitted before 31 December 2015. Contact your Masthead Compliance Officer for further assistance in this regard.