Exemption for certain juristic persons: The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has extended the exemption which lapsed on 31 December 2011. Private companies operating in certain sectors have been exempted from submitting a manual until 31 December 2015, but the companies still have to comply with rest of the Act. This exemption states that private companies with less than 50 employees or with a turnover of less than the amounts stipulated in the Schedule in the Notice will be exempt from compiling the PAIA manual until 31 December 2015. Please refer to the Government Notice for the detail.
The SAHRC has also indicated that they have not approved or endorsed any private service providers.
Right to information
To give 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; and to provide for matters connected therewith.
PAIA gives the requester a right to lodge a request from the information officer of a public or private body.
The Act states that all private bodies must:
- compile a section 51 manual which is a roadmap of the company
- submit the manual to the South African Human Rights Commission
- effect material changes if any each time these occur and resubmit to the SAHRC
- electronic submissions to the Commission are accepted, sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
- hard copies of the manuals must be submitted / posted to SAHRC head office at the following address:
South African Human Rights Commission;
Private Bag X2700
- update any material changes on the manual on a regular basis
- make the manual available as prescribed by the Act at the company offices and on their website
- must annex a request form to the manual and also make request form available on the website and at the company premises access points
- there are penalties for non compliance – please see section 90 of PAIA, the SAHRC has not yet imposed any fines for non-compliance but reserves the right to do so
- the manual must be signed by the head of the company / close corporation / entity.
The Act defines a private body as follows:
"(a) a natural person who carries or has carried on any trade, business or profession, but only in such capacity;
(b) a partnership which carries or has carried on any trade, business or profession;
(c) former or existing juristic person,
but excludes a public body;"
According to the SAHRC a juristic person will include a close corporation, non-profit organisations and trusts.
The SAHRC also requires that the holding company and each of its subsidiaries must submit separate manuals for each entity respectively.
Requirements for PAIA manual
The requirements for private bodies is stated in section 51 of the Act, which states that the manual must contain the following information:
- postal and street address, phone and fax number and if available the e‐mail address of the head of the private body
- the description of the guide compiled by the SAHRC and how to access it (refer to SAHRC guidelines under information);
- the latest notice regarding the categories of records of the body which are available without a person having to request access in terms of PAIA;
- the description of available records generated by the company stating those which are automatically available and those that are available on request.
- outline the request procedure in terms of PAIA;
- a description of the subjects on which the private body holds records, and the categories of records held on each subject;
- state who the head of the company is (CEO is usually the Information Officer in terms of PAIA)
- stipulate the fees applicable as legislated by the Act which are chargeable to requesters
- remedies available to requesters if their request for information has been refused
- details facilitating request for access to a record etc.
- Overlap of the PAIA and the Companies Act (70Kb PDF)
- Example on how to compile a PAIA guide(35Kb PDF)
- Request for access to records of private body – Form C to be appended to manual (21Kb DOCX)
- SAHRC guidelines to use PAIA (2MB PDF)
- Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000 (900Kb PDF)
- Government Gazette No 27988 - Exemptions of private companies (208Kb PDF)
- Government Gazette No 23119 ‐ Regulations regarding Promotion of Access to Information including fees for request of records (821Kb PDF)
- Government Gazette No 34914 – Exemption of certain private bodies from compiling a manual (109Kb PDF)