THE PROMOTION OF ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT, 2 of 2000. We can assist you in compiling this manual. Heavy fines will be imposed if not compliant. Contact us on 083 440 5772; 083 401 4663 or (041) 367 5323 for more information. Cost R 500 per Private Body.
The 3rd of February 2000 saw the enactment of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2 of 2000 (“the Act”), giving effect to the constitutional right of access to any information held by the State and any information that is held by another person and that is required for the exercise or protection of any rights. An extension was granted by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development for certain private bodies to 31 December 2011. Therefore all private bodies are required to prepare and submit a copy of the manual to the Human Rights Commission by 31 December 2011.
Where a request is made in terms of this Act, the private or public body to which the request is made is obliged to release the information, except where the Act expressly provides that the information must not be released. The Act sets out the requisite procedural issues attached to such request. Failure to have this Manual available may lead to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years.
HISTORY RELATING TO THE PROMOTION OF ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT OF 2000:
The Promotion of Access to Information Act of 2000 (herein after referred to as “the Act”) was enacted and seeks to advance a culture of transparency and accountability in both public and private bodies. The purpose of this legislation is to address Section 32(2) of the Constitution, which states that any person has a right to gain access to any information, held by a public or private body, if it is required for the exercise or protection of any rights.
According to the Act, a public body’s definition includes any department of state or any institution that performs a public function. A private body’s definition includes any former or existing juristic person, which encompasses public and private companies, partnerships, sole proprietors and close corporations.
The Act deals with information in terms of “records” (any recorded information) and lays down procedures through which access to records must be granted. Compliance with the Act will require that private bodies conform to certain requirements specified by the Act, including compilation of a manual.
Section 9 of the Act however recognizes that such right to access to information cannot be unlimited and should be subject to justifiable limitations, including, but not limited to:
Limitations aimed at the reasonable protection of privacy;
Commercial confidentiality; and
Effective, efficient and good governance;
and in a manner, which balances that right with any other rights, including such rights contained in the Bill of Rights in the Constitution.
The Act places mandatory obligations of all private bodies (i.e. for each of your organisations) to:
1. Compile a manual identifying certain prescribed information, including details of the person (“the Head”) nominated to deal with requests for access to information in terms of the Act;
2. submit the manual to the Human Rights Commission and the controlling body of which the private body is a member (if applicable).
Our firm will be able to assist your organisation in preparing a manual addressing the requirements of the Act. Our firm will draft the manual and distribute same to the Human Rights Commission at a nominal fee of R500 per Private Body
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