The Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (POPIA) is South Africa’s new privacy legislation that came into effect on 1 July 2021.
In Section 55 (1) of POPIA, an Information Officer has certain duties and responsibilities. There are, however, additional duties and responsibilities placed on an Information Officer in terms of Regulation 4 of POPIA, one of which is to ensure that a manual is developed, monitored, maintained and made available as prescribed in sections 14 and 51 of Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000 (PAIA).
Failure to compile a PAIA manual may lead to imprisonment of the Information officer, or the body may be issued with a fine.
Who should have a PAIA manual?
Previously, there were exemptions, but as of 1 January 2022, all private and public bodies should have a PAIA manual.
What should be in my PAIA manual of a private body?
Section 51 of PAIA stipulates that the Information Officer of a private body must compile a manual containing the following information:
- The postal and street address, phone and fax number and, if available, electronic mail address of the head of the private body;
- A description of the private bodies information guide and how to gain access to that guide;
- The latest notice, if any, regarding the categories of records of the private body which are available without a person having to request access in terms of this Act;
- A description of the records of the private body which are available under any other legislation;
- Sufficient detail describing the process to facilitate a request for access to a record, including a description of the subjects on which the private body holds records and the categories of records held on each subject;
- Any other information may be required.
Section 14 of PAIA stipulates what should be in the manual of a Public body.
What should I do with my PAIA manual?
Your PAIA manual should be available on your business premises in hard copy and added to your business website if you have one.
It is important to keep a record of all the requests made by data subjects in terms of PAIA, as the Regulator may, annually, request an Information Officer of a private body, in terms of section 83 (4) of PAIA, to furnish to the Regulator with information about requests for access to records of that body.
To conclude, it is thus not only a legal requirement to have a PAIA manual, but it is there to explain to persons how they can get access to records held by the body.
Contact your SEESA Consumer Protection & POPI Legal Advisor to assist your business with drafting your PAIA manual. Alternatively, leave your name on our website, and a SEESA representative will contact you.
About the Author:
Stephanie Christensen started her career at SEESA in April 2009 as Legal Advisor in the Labour Department and transferred to the Consumer Protection & POPI Department in 2016.She obtained her BCom Law degree in 2004 and LLB in 2006. She was admitted as an attorney of the High Court of Cape Town in January 2009.