There is a lot of noise surrounding the topic of whether your organisation requires a PAIA manual to be published on your website or not, and in this article, I hope to shed some clarity on the matter.
What is a PAIA manual? PAIA, or the Promotion of Access to Information Act No. 2 of 2000 stipulated that every organisation should have a manual published that covers specific topics in the organisation, namely, the head of the organisation and contact details, physical location, how to use PAIA to request access to information etc. It enables a person to access information held by public or private bodies and includes an obligation on each to compile a manual containing certain prescribed information. The mandate of PAIA was managed by the South African Human Rights Commission but have since been taken over by the Information Regulator, from the 30th of June 2021.
Previously, PAIA stipulated that organisations that fell into specific industries, with limitation on staff and annual turnaround was exempted from creating and publishing a PAIA manual. With the mandate being moved to the Information Regulator, there has been a change or amendment on these exemptions.
The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services has exempted certain private bodies from compiling and publishing a PAIA manual following the implementation of POPIA (Protection of Personal Information Act No. 4 of 2013). This exemption expires on the 31st of December 2021. The Information regulator has stated that this is the final exemption that will be granted, and that, from the 1st of January 2021, all public and private bodies must have compiled and published a PAIA manual.
Private bodies that are currently exempted from compiling a PAIA manual until 31st December 2021 are:
- Sole Proprietors
- Parties Private Companies (as defined in the Companies Act No. 71 of 2008), which:
- Operates in one of the sectors listed below; and
- Generate and amount less than the corresponding total annual turnover listed below or employ fewer than the corresponding number of employees listed below
Some other Frequently Asked Questions on PAIA:
Are you required to submit your PAIA Manual to the Information Regulator?
Unless the Information Regulator requests it, you are not required to submit your PAIA Manual. You are, however, required to:
- Publish your PAIA Manual on your website.
- Make the manual available at your principle place of business if you are a private body.
- Make the Manual available to any person that requests it and pays a reasonable amount.
What should my PAIA Manual Contain?
A typical PAIA manual needs to contain the following information:
- Definitions used in the Manual
- Access Information using PAIA
- Company Information
- Processing of Personal Information
- Information held by your Organisation
- Other Legislative records
- A request procedure; and
- Manual Availability
How can O’NERO IT Services help me become POPIA compliant?
O’NERO IT Services offers a Compliance-as-a-Service offering that assists organisations on their compliance journey. From deploying a non-intrusive software tool that scans your network environment, to working with your Information Officer on pre-determined questionnaires like ISO 27001 policies and procedures, physical site walkthroughs and POPIA awareness questionnaires.
Get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 012 940 8243 to find out more.