Important Information: PAIA Manual

Oct 12, 2020 | CoSec Blog

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Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) Manuals MUST be submitted by 31 December 2020! The Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) requires that all public and private bodies compile a Section 51 Manual, a signed copy of which must be submitted to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

No further exemptions have been granted due to the introduction of the Promotion of Personal Information Act (POPIA) as discussed below. Failure to comply with the legislation could result in a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 2 years.

In terms of Section 51, the head of a private body must:

  • Update the manual with any material changes on a regular basis;
  • Submit the manual to the SAHRC;
  • Make the manual available as prescribed by the Act at the company offices and on their website;
  • Must annex a request form (PAIA Form C) to the manual and also have request forms available on the website and at all company premises.

A private body is defined as a natural or juristic person or partnership that is involved or has been involved in any trade, business or profession and includes Private Companies, Close Corporations and Sole Traders.

It is important to note the relationship between PAIA and POPIA which is effective 01 July 2020, with a 12-month grace period to 01 July 2021. PAIA is an “access” law, about freedom of information and POPIA is all about privacy.

POPIA has established an Information Regulator (IR) who will receive and have the power to investigate complaints regarding non-compliance with both POPIA and PAIA.  Once the IR has been established by 01 July 2021, all powers and responsibilities currently being performed by the SAHRC will be taken over by the IR.  PAIA Manuals will need to be updated more regularly taking into consideration any additional requirements in terms of POPIA.

We are able to assist you with the preparation and submission of the Manual to the SAHRC.  Our charge for the drafting and submission of the PAIA manual is R1 750 (excluding VAT).

Should you already have a PAIA manual in place which requires updating, we would be happy to discount this fee by 50% (R850 excl. VAT) in view of your ongoing support through the pandemic.

In 2021, we will include the PAIA manual update charge in our Annual Charge so that we can update changes in your PAIA Manual as and when they occur where we hold your statutory records.

Should you require our assistance, we would appreciate your response by 16 October 2020 to ensure timely submission and compliance with all requirements.

Should you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us.

Be well and stay safe.

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