The web site is now storing only essential cookies on your computer. If you don't allow cookies, you may not be able to use certain features of the web site including but not limited to: log in, buy products, see personalized content, switch between site cultures. It is recommended that you allow all cookies.

Do You Need A PAIA Manual?

Do You Need A PAIA Manual?

Spencer Cason

The Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) allows members of the public to request and obtain information from private and public entities, subject to certain requirements.

Until 1 January 2022, many private entities were exempt from compliance with PAIA. This is no longer the case, and all private entities must now ensure compliance. This includes partnerships, sole proprietors, companies, and CCs.

A question that often arises is the distinction between POPIA and PAIA. PAIA and POPIA can be viewed as two sides of the same coin. On the one hand, POPIA is concerned with the protection of information and, on the other, PAIA is concerned with access to information for legitimate purposes.

Broadly speaking, to access information, the requesting person will need to follow the procedure set out in PAIA, use the prescribed forms, and pay the necessary fees. Importantly, the requesting person must show that the information is required for the exercise or protection of any rights (e.g., constitutional rights).

The request may be refused if there are legitimate grounds for refusal. Depending on the circumstances, these may include unreasonable disclosure of personal information about a third party; protection of trade secrets or commercial information of a third party; protection of legally privileged information.

PAIA requires an entity to prepare a manual, to be kept at the entity’s office and made available online if the entity has a website. PAIA sets out the type of information the manual should contain, the intention being that the manual will assist members of the public to request information from the entity.

Amongst other things, the manual should explain the type of information that the entity holds and the how the public can go about requesting access.

Failure to comply can result in serious penalties. Therefore, it is important that your organisation pays attention to PAIA and ensures its PAIA manual is properly prepared and maintained.

Please contact your local Moore Firm with any queries in this regard.