As from the 1 July 2021, the responsibility for the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) has transferred from the Human Rights Commission to the Information Regulator. This means that both POPI and PAIA reside with the Information Regulator.
On 29 July 2021 the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services signed the revised PAIA regulations into law. Where POPIA obliges responsible parties to protect the personal information of data subjects, the PAIA statute and regulations create a framework within which third parties (who include but are not limited to data subjects) can request access to records held by the organisation in order to pursue particular legal rights.
The PAIA Regulations require Information Officers to ensure that the PAIA Guide, which explains how information requesters can go about their requests, is available for free in at least two official languages at the registered head office.
There is a form that requesters of information can use to capture and submit their requests and the Information Officer is obliged to assist with this process. Once the Information Officer has considered the request, the outcome of the request must be communicated to the requester. In respect of Private Bodies, there is a schedule of fees that can be charged to requesters in respect of photocopies, flash drives, CD’, transcription of visual images and the like.
It is highly advised that organisations ensure that, in addition to the above, the PAIA Manual as well as PAIA guide are posted on the website of the organisation as well. We recommend you do now the following:
- Use the new PAIA s51 manual template and populate it. We have included some comments as well to assist. This must replace your current s51 manual and please ensure you complete it in detail. Also note that the fee structures have changed.
- Remember that you need to keep a hard copy of the s51 PAIA manual at your Head Office as well as the s10 PAIA Guide in two official languages (which we are still waiting for the Information Regulator to review and publish – you will get these for free from the Information Regulator when they have reviewed it) and you need to have the updated s51 PAIA manual and the PAIA guide on your website.
- All the supporting forms are on the Information Regulator website.