PAIA is the short for Promotion of Access to Information Act of 2001. This Act requires every company (private and public), closed corporation, trust AND sole proprietor to compile a manual contain basic contact information, what records are available for public scrutiny, where these are available and the cost (regulated by the Act) to access these.
Even if your entity forms part of a group of companies, a separate manual is still required. This manual needs to be submitted to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) by 31 December 2011, at least electronically, to be followed by physical submission as quickly as possible.
If it is a necessity, The Act requires compliance, failing which you can fined. The Act also requires that the manual be frequently updated and resubmitted to the SAHRC offices.
What do I need to build this manual?
Some expert assistance, seeing that the deadline is the 31st of December 2011! The Act requires the following basics:
- details of the company’s postal, email and street address, fax and phone of the company,
- the description of available (financial and operational) records generated by the company stating those which are automatically available and those that are available on request.
- outline the request procedure in terms of PAIA;
- state who the head of the company/CC/trust, sole proprietor is (CEO/Main member/trustee/owner is usually the Information Officer in terms of PAIA)
- stipulate the fees applicable as legislated by the Act which are chargeable to requesters
- remedies available to requesters if their request for information has been refused
- details facilitating request for access to a record etc.
The whole process is explained on the SA Human Rights Commission’s website. Bull’s Eye Advisory Services can offer these services for you, up to Thursday 22 December 2011.