TIME TO REFRESH YOUR PAIA MANUAL
Section 32 of the Constitution of South Africa provides that everyone has the right of access to any information which such person requires for the exercise or protection of a right, whether such information is held by the State or by another person. The Constitution furthermore has directed that National legislation (law) is brought into operation which will give effect to and provide for this right.
The Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000 (PAIA), which came into operation on 9 March 2001, does just this – providing that where anyone has an interest or right which requires protection, that person may ask for access to any information which may be held by another and which may give effect to or substantiate this right, and which information is required in order to exercise and / or to protect that right.
In order to give effect to this right, sections 14 and 51 of PAIA obliges ALL public and private bodies to compile a PAIA Manual, which sets out how a person or requester may go about requesting access to information held by such body. These sections, stipulate the minimum requirements that the Manual has to comply with.
Whilst many of us have got a PAIA Manual, which is held and managed by the Organization’s Information Officer and hopefully housed on the Organization’s website, all PAIA Manuals now have to be reviewed and amended in order to bring them in line with certain amendments which have been made to PAIA by POPIA, which amendments will come into force on the 1 July 2021.
These amendments, which are set out in more detail in the attached document headed: “Amendments to PAIA unpacked and explained and impact on one’s PAIA Manual”, are briefly as follows:
- The Information Regulator has assumed responsibility for PAIA, which was previously regulated by the Human Rights Commission (HRC) – this means that references to the HRC under one’s PAIA Manual must be deleted and replaced with a reference to the Information Regulator;
- All PAIA Manuals of entities in both the public and private sector, must now include details of the Personal Information which that Organization processes, including details of the types of Personal Information processed; the data subjects who provide the information; the reasons or purposes why such personal information is processed; who this information is shared with; and the security controls which have been implemented in order to protect the confidentiality and integrity of such information;
- PAIA Manuals must be made available on the Organization’s website and at its offices (the moratorium on the duty to compile a Manual and which applied to certain private companies will expire on 1 July 2021);
- PAIA Manuals do not need to be published in the Gazette (this is only an option as per the original sections under PAIA) and will only have to be submitted to the Information Regulator on request (previously every entity had to lodge a copy of its Manual with the HRC);
- The PAIA Manual must house the latest and up-to-date details of the entity’s Information Officer and where applicable, its Deputy Information Officer/s;
- The PAIA Manual must set out an internal complaints procedure and the consequences of non-compliance.
To assist with the amendments, we recommend that you take a look at our standard PAIA Manual template (attached), which highlights in red the areas which need to be updated in order to ensure that your Organization complies with these latest requirements, effective 1 July 2021.
Yes… POPIA is getting real!
If you are subscriber and wish to view a more detailed version of this Template of the Week, please logon to The Legal Team.
If you would like to subscribe to our more detailed UPDATE service, please request a quote by clicking the link below: