As of the 1st January 2022 all companies, as defined in section 1 of the Companies Act, are required to have compiled a Promotion of Access to Information Manual [PAIA]
The motivation behind the withdrawal of the exemption for certain bodies
Information Regulator states – “Due to the significance of the legislative requirement for compiling the PAIA Manual, in terms of which the scope of the information that the manual must cover has been widened to include matters relating POPIA, private bodies will no longer be exempted from the obligation to compile PAIA manual. Therefore, from, 1st January 2022, every private and public body will be required to have their PAIA Manual available”
Promotion of Access to Information Act
The Act, which was published on the 3rd February 2000, gives 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.
To view the Act – https://www.justice.gov.za/inforeg/legal/InfoRegSA-act-2000-002.pdf
Promotion of Access to Information manual – Expiry of Exemption
At the time of publication of the Act certain companies, as defined in the Companies Act, were exempt from having to compile a manual. The exemption, extended on a number of occasions, finally expired on the 31st December 2021.
This has resulted in all companies as defined in section 1 of the Companies Act No. 71 of 2008 (see below) being required to compile a manual.
Section 1 – definitions
“private company” means a profit company that-
(a) is not a public, personal liability or state-owned company; and
(b) satisfies the criteria set out in section 8(2)(b);
Section 8. Categories of companies
(2) A profit company is-
(b) a private company if-
(i) it is not a state-owned company; and
(ii) its Memorandum of Incorporation-
(aa) prohibits it from offering any of its securities to the public; and
(bb) restricts the transferability of its securities;
The Information Regulator
All of the information relating to the promotion of access to information is available on the Information Regulators website at https://www.inforegulator.org.za
“The Information Regulator is an independent body established in terms of section 39 of the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 and is, among others, empowered to monitor and enforce compliance by public and private bodies with the provisions of the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000 and the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013”.
Promotion of Access to Information Regulations
Government Notice R.757 in GG No 45057 27 August 2021
This Regulation provides additional information regarding the manual together with all of the relevant official forms
Government Notice R.991 in GG 28107 14 October 2005
This Regulation prescribes the grounds under which a person is exempt from having to pay fees
PAIA Sample Manual Template for Private Bodies
The Information Regulator has published a PAIA Manual Template for Private Bodies providing a reasonable example of what is required.