On 27 August 2021, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services issued in Government Gazette No. 45057 new regulations (“New PAIA Regulations”) in terms of section 92 of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2 of 2000 (“PAIA”). The New PAIA Regulations repeal and replace the existing regulations in their entirety.
Notable provisions introduced in the New PAIA Regulations include inter alia:
- new prescribed forms set out in Annexure A to the New PAIA Regulations, which public, private bodies, and the Information Regulator must substantially conform to when (i) assisting any person making a request for a record, (ii) notifying any information officer of a complaint; (iii) lodging an internal appeal or complaint, (iv) settlement or conciliation of a matter; and (v) requesting the Information Regulator to conduct a PAIA compliance assessment;
- a schedule of fees as set out in Annexure B of the PAIA Regulations that detail the prescribed fees that can be charged by public and private bodies respectively when facilitating requests for access to information (e.g. costs relating to printing costs, photocopying costs, time for searching and preparation for disclosure of a record and other related costs); and
- a provision expressly recording that the provisions of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, 25 of 2002 applies to all forms, records, and documents or any information electronically communicated.
For ease of reference, a copy of the new regulations can be downloaded by following this link https://www.justice.gov.za/inforeg/legal/20210827-gg45057gon757-PAIAregulations.pdf
The Information Regulator has now published the PAIA manual templates, together with a few other forms on their website. https://www.justice.gov.za/inforeg/docs.html The following documents can be downloaded by clicking on the links provided.
- Complaint form – https://www.justice.gov.za/inforeg/docs/forms/InfoRegSA-PAIA-Form05-Reg10.pdf
- PAIA Manual for Public Body – https://www.justice.gov.za/inforeg/docs/forms/PAIA-Manual-Template-Public-Body.docx
- PAIA Manual for Private Body – https://www.justice.gov.za/inforeg/docs/forms/PAIA-Manual-Template-Private-Body.docx
- Request for a guide from the Information Regulator – https://www.justice.gov.za/inforeg/docs/forms/InfoRegSA-PAIA-Form01-Reg2.pdf
- Request for a copy of the guide from an Information Officer – https://www.justice.gov.za/inforeg/docs/forms/InfoRegSA-PAIA-Form01-Reg3.pdf
The current exemption relating to the PAIA manual that applies to some organisations, is only valid until 31 December 2021. At this stage, indications are that the exemption will not be extended any further and that every organisation will have to have such a manual in place from January 2022.