n South African Journal on Human Rights - More than just details : buttressing the right of access to information with information manuals

Volume 27, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0258-7203



The bulk of South Africa's current access to information regime emerged in 2001, when the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000 (PAIA) came into force. Pursuant to this constitutionally-mandated legislation, both private and public bodies are now obliged to compile a manual providing basic organisational and archival information. The purpose of this reference tool is to facilitate the information request process and thereby empower individuals to exercise their right of access to information. The coming into force of the Judicial Matters Second Amendment Act of 2003 in March 2005 meant that public body information officers or heads of private bodies who failed to comply with manual-related duties would henceforth expose themselves to criminal sanctions. The uniquely coercive nature of these measures underscores the crucial role that information manuals play in implementing the vision of PAIA. The reality, however, is that despite its enduring prevalence, non-compliance has yet to form the basis of a criminal prosecution. This trend points to the inadequacy of the current enforcement mechanism.

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