Earlier this year the coming into effect of PAIA (Promotion of Access to Information Act) for all companies, private or public was extended to December. This meant certain companies were exempt (most companies) and others where not depending on staff size and turnover as well as industry.
This extension of exemption lapses on the 31st of December this year. Many thought they might extend this further but there has been no mention made of any further extensions. Thus, practically all companies in South Africa must as of 1 January 2022 have a PAIA manual on their website or, if they do not have one, they must have it available at their place of business.
Luckily the Information Regulator has made a template available as a suggestion of how this should look so one does not have to fork out money or wonder about the content. It is easy to implement and not much drafting is needed. One can view it here at the bottom of the page - be sure to fill it in correctly and add to your website under the legal section. Compared to POPI, PAIA basically consists of signing off the policy prescribed by the regulator and sticking it on your web page.
Or our clients can access our conveniently formatted version we sent to them and that we've made available on our client portal. If you are not a client you can buy one here.
In closing, I am baffled as to why all companies have to have this kind of policy as it is entirely likely that it will never be used by 99% of all companies. It is very useful if you want to obtain information as a journalist from state owned entities where our rights as citizens are concerned. However, persons will rarely use this as a method of obtaining their own information (freely available from the entities). By the way, people's own information is usually the only information that they care about and this is catered for by POPI.
Like with POPI, I do not see that the regulator will be checking all companies from the get-go to see if this is in place. Better safe than sorry though.
by: Horizon Compliance team