Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (Act No. 2 of 2000)
Promotion of Access to Information Manual in terms of Section 14 of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000
Section 32 of the Constitution of South Africa enshrines the right of access to information held by both public and private bodies. As a result, the Promotion of Access to Information Act (the Act) was enacted to give effect to the right of access to information by detailing the ways in which information from public and private bodies can be accessed.
On the other hand, Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (POPIA), seeks to give effect to the right to privacy in section 14 of the Constitution, specifically, as it relates to personal information. POPIA reasserts every person’s right to data privacy and to have their personal data or information only used for a specific and defined purpose and not to be disclosed to third parties without consent or a legitimate purpose.
In balancing the demands of the right to privacy and the right to access to information, there are limitations to the public’s realisation of the rights stipulated in Section 36 and 14 of the Constitution and Sections 33-45 of the Act, as well as those set out in the POPIA. To this end, the Act sets out the grounds on which a public or private body can refuse access to information, while POPIA sets out the grounds on which personal information may be collated, used and/or transmitted to third parties.
Section 10 of the Act requires the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to compile and publish an easy-to-understand guide to assist people to access records and documents and exercise their right to information. The guide, which is updated at least once every two years, provides users with the information required to access any records.
In addition to the Section 10 guide, the Act requires both public and private bodies to produce a manual with information on how members of the public can use the Act to access their records.
Specifically, Section 14 of the Act requires every public body to publish a manual in at least three official languages to assist information requesters in requesting information from the body concerned.
The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (the IRBA) is a public entity, as contemplated in Section 14 of the Act, and has compiled this Manual in compliance with that section and as a mechanism to facilitate public access to information/record(s) in its custody.
In addition to the above, the IRBA hopes, through its commitment to the letter and spirit of the Act, to contribute to the promotion of transparency, accountability, and effective governance within the public sector.
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