6 September 2021 by , and Technology, Media & Telecommunications Alert

Regulations Relating to the Promotion of Access to Information, 2021 issued by the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services

On 27 August 2021 the Regulations relating to the Promotion of Access to Information, 2021 (new PAIA Regulations) were issued in Government Gazette No. 45057 by the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services under section 92 of the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000 (PAIA).

The new PAIA Regulations repeal and replace the previous regulations that were issued in terms of PAIA and include new prescribed forms and a new schedule of fees that apply to requests made under PAIA (as well as fees chargeable where copies of records are requested).

Below, we highlight some of the pertinent aspects of the new PAIA Regulations:

  • Requests for access to information held by both public and private bodies are to be made in accordance with the new (now combined) prescribed Form 2 set out in Annexure A.
  • The specific forms provided for under the new PAIA Regulations include those to:
  • request a copy of the guide;
  • record the outcome of a request or notify a requester of fees payable;
  • lodge an internal appeal against a decision of an information officer of a public body;
  • lodge (and acknowledge receipt in respect of) a complaint to the information regulator;
  • notify the information officer of a complaint received by the information regulator;
  • record the outcome of an investigation;
  • address settlements and conciliation of matter; and
  • request the information regulator to carry out a PAIA compliance assessment.
  • The new PAIA Regulations specifically stipulate that the provisions of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002 (ECTA) are applicable to all forms, records and documents or any information electronically communicated, and specifically incorporate the definitions of “in writing” and “signature” as contemplated in the ECTA.
  • In respect of the schedule of fees (per Annexure B of the new PAIA Regulations), the new PAIA Regulations introduce capped fees for the searching and preparation of the record/s for disclosure by public and private bodies respectively (i.e. in respect of public bodies, the amount of R100 for each hour, not to exceed R300; and in respect of private bodies, the amount of R145 for each hour, not to exceed R435).

In light of the above, information officers of public and private bodies should review their existing PAIA manuals and internal processes in order to ensure alignment with the new PAIA Regulations.

In addition, the information regulator has recently made templates available on its website which can be used by public and private bodies as a guide when preparing their PAIA manual in accordance with the requirements set out in PAIA. The templates can be accessed by visiting the information regulator’s website at https://www.justice.gov.za/inforeg/docs2-f.html.

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