1. Guide of the South African Human Rights Organization

 

A guide to the Act (as contemplated under section 10 of the Act) is available from the South African Human Rights Commission. The guide contains such information as may reasonably be required by a person who wishes to exercise any right contemplated in the Act. Any enquiries regarding this guide and its contents should be directed to: 

 

The South African Human Rights Commission: 

PAIA Unit (the Research and Documentation Department) 

Postal address: Private Bag 2700, Houghton, 2041 

Telephone: +27 11 484-8300 

Fax: +27 11 484-7146 

Website: www.sahrc.org.za 

E-mail: PAIA@sahrc.org.za

 

2. The request for access to information 

 

Records held by the Company may be accessed on request only once the requirements for access have been met. A requester is any person making a request for access to a record of the Company and in this regard, the Act distinguishes between two types of requesters:

 

Personal Requester 

A personal requester is a requester who is seeking access to a record containing personal information about the requester. Subject to the provisions of the Act and applicable law, the Company will provide the requested information, or give access to any record with regard to the requester’s personal information. The prescribed fee for reproduction of the information requested will be charged by the Company. 

Other Requester 

 

This requester (other than a personal requester) is entitled to request access to information pertaining to third parties. However, the Company is not obliged to grant access prior to the requester fulfilling the requirements for access in terms of the Act. The prescribed fee for reproduction of the information requested will be charged by the Company.

 

A requester must comply with all the procedural requirements contained in the Act relating to a request for access to a record. A requester must complete the prescribed form enclosed herewith in Annexure 1 and submit as well as payment of a request fee and a deposit, if applicable to the information officer at the postal or physical address, fax number or electronic mail address stated herein. 

 

The prescribed form must be filled in with enough particularity to at least enable the information officer to identify: 

 

    • The record or records requested; 

    • The identity of the requester; 

    • What form of access is required; and 

    • The postal address or fax number of the requester. 

 

A requester must state that he or she requires the information in order to exercise or protect a right, and clearly state what the nature of the right is so to be exercised or protected. The requester must also provide an explanation of why the requested record is required for the exercise or protection of that right. 

 

The Company will process a request within 30 days, unless the requestor has stated special reasons which would satisfy the information officer that circumstances dictate that this time period not be complied with. 

 

The requester shall be informed in writing whether access has been granted or denied. If, in addition, the requester requires the reasons for the decision in any other manner, he or she must state the manner and the particulars so required. If a request is made on behalf of another person, the requester must then submit proof of the capacity in which the requester is making the request to the satisfaction of the information officer. 

 

If an individual is unable to complete the prescribed form because of illiteracy or disability, such a person may make the request orally to the information officer.

 

3. Decision Making Process

 

The Company will, within 30 days of receipt of a request, decide whether to grant or decline a request and give notice with reasons (if required) to that effect. The 30-day period within which the Company has to decide whether to grant or refuse a request, may be extended for a further period of not more than 30 days if the request is for a large quantity of information, or the request requires a search for information held at another office of the Company (other than the head office) and the information cannot reasonably be obtained within the original 30 day period. The information officer will notify the requester in writing should an extension be necessary.

 

  • Granted: The notification must state the applicable access fee required to be paid, together with the procedure to be followed should the requestor wish to apply to court against such fee, and the form in which access will be given

  • Declined: The notification must include adequate reasons for the decision, together with the relevant provision of the Act relief upon, and provide the procedure to be followed should the requestor wish to apply to court against the decision

 

4. Fees

 

The Act provides for two types of fees: 

 

A request fee, (which will be a standard fee) and an access fee, which must be calculated by considering reproduction costs, search and preparation time and cost, as well as postal costs where applicable. When a request is received by the information officer of the Company, the 

information officer shall by notice require the requester, other than a personal requester, to pay the prescribed request fee (if any) before further processing of the request. If a search for the record is necessary and the preparation of the record for disclosure, including arrangement to make it available in the requested form, requires more than the hours prescribed in the regulations for this purpose, the information officer shall notify the requester to pay as a deposit the prescribed portion of the access fee which would be payable if the request is granted. 

 

The information officer shall withhold a record until the requester has paid the fee or fees as indicated. A requester whose request for access to a record has been granted, must pay an access fee for reproduction and for search and preparation, and for any time reasonably required more than the prescribed hours to search for and prepare the record for disclosure including making arrangements to make it available in the request form. If a deposit has been paid in respect of a request for access, which is refused, then the information officer shall repay the deposit to the requester.

To download the PAIA manual click here.