As required by PAIA, I’m convinced that many private sector businesses have not yet published the PAIA Information Manual.
Have you filed it yet?
The Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000 as amended (“PAIA“) in Section 51 requires the head of every private body to compile and publish a Manual containing the required information. The Act enables people to gain access to information held by both public and private bodies.
Exemption granted in 2015
GG Notice No 39504 of 11 December 2015 exempted certain private bodies from compiling the manual contemplated in section 51(1), for a period of five years. These were companies which at that time had less than 50 employees and showed turnover of less than the defined values based upon the industry sector they operate in, as set out in the GG.
The exemption applied for a period of five years, i.e. to 31 December 2020.
Final filing date
By 31 December 2020 all previously exempted companies must have submitted their PAIA Manual to the South African Human Rights Commission (“the SAHRC”).
If you have not yet done so, do not delay. Get on to it. A standard template that could be used, is available on the SAHRC website.
As can be expected, there are penalties for non-compliance with PAIA – see Section 90.
If the head of private body wilfully, or in a grossly negligent manner fails to comply with the provisions of section 51, the private body is deemed to commit an offence and may be liable, upon conviction, to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years.