In 2000, the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) came into law, fulfilling the provision of section 32 of the Constitution which requires the enactment of legislation relating to access to information. The purpose of PAIA is to promote the right to access information.
It is important to note that PAIA cannot be used to obtain records for use during civil or criminal legal proceedings after the commencement of such proceedings if the production or access to records for this same purpose are provided for by law (see Section 7 of the PAIA).
In addition to the Section 10 Guide on PAIA compiled by the SAHRC, PAIA also requires every public body, as well as private bodies, to produce a manual that contains information on how to use PAIA to access their own records.
A private body is not obliged to publish its PAIA manual; however, it must be available and easily accessible in the office for all staff to read. It also needs to contain a ‘Form C’ which is a request for information.
- Grounds on which information can be refused by the Information officer:
- The privacy of a third party, unless there is consent or is already public information.
- Protection of commercial information of a third party.
- Protection of confidential information.
- Protection of the safety of individuals and property.
- Protection of information in legal proceedings.
- Protection of research information.
- Operations of private bodies.
The Estate Agency Affairs Board requires all estate agencies to comply with the following:
Private bodies or juristic persons include natural persons carrying on any trade, business, or profession; partnerships which carry on any trade, business, or profession; or any former or existing juristic person excluding a public body. Juristic persons, therefore, include companies, close corporations, non-profit organizations, and trusts. Holding companies and each subsidiary company must prepare and submit separate information manuals.
- The PAIA prescribes that the head of a private body must:
- Compile a Section 51 manual which is a roadmap of the enterprise;
- Submit that manual to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC);
- Effect material changes, if any, each time such changes occur and, thereafter, resubmit the amended manual to the SAHRC;
- Update any material changes to the manual on a regular basis;
- Make the manual available as prescribed by the PAIA at the company offices as well as on the relevant internet website;
- Annex a request form to the manual and make the request form available on the internet website.
- The section 51 manual must, among others, contain the following information:
- Details of the company’s postal, e-mail, and street addresses and facsimile and telephone numbers;
- A description of available records generated by the company stating those which are automatically available and those that are available on request;
- An outline of the request procedure in terms of PAIA;
- Who the head of the company is, namely, the chief executive officer or the appointed information officer;
- The fees payable for the furnishing of the requested information;
- Remedies available to requesters should a request for information be refused;
- Details to facilitate requests for access to records.
The section 51 manual must be initialled on every page and signed by the head of the organization on the last page. The manual should then either be e-mailed or posted to the PAIA Unit of the SAHRC at firstname.lastname@example.org. or Private Bag X2700, Houghton, 2041.
It is imperative that all estate agency enterprise complies with the requirements of the PAIA since penalties are applicable for any instances of non-compliance with its provisions.
The following PAIA template is available for every franchisee to adapt to their organization.
The SA Golden Homes PAIA manual is not currently available on our website. However, information may be requested via Form C from the Chief Executive Officer which will be processed in accordance with the PAIA regulations and fees.