Towards the end of 2011 there was a sudden urgency created when business owner’s realised that compliance with the PAIA (the Promotion of Access to Information Act) was due by 31 December 2011. Small business owners literally scrambled to get their returns in before the deadline and the email box of the relevant officer at the SA Human Rights Commission was filling up quicker than the mail could be moved!
And then, amid all the noise and haste, Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe granted a last minute reprieve for companies to comply with the law. A three year extension was granted, but no reason was given. The new deadline announced was 31st December 2015.
Many people are still wondering what PAIA is all about. In short, the act was promulgated in 2000 to give effect to the constitutional right of access to any information held by the state, and that held by another person that is required for the exercise or protection of any right. The act makes provision for a prison sentence or a fine of up to R2 million should any person or company not comply. Radebe’s announcement that was published in the Government Gazette provides a list of sectors and size of companies (both in employees and turnover) that are exempted.
This is the third extension that has been granted since the Act came into force. More information on the act and compliance can be found on the SA Human Rights website. Go to www.sahrc.org.za and follow the links.
Whilst the deadline has been extended, it does not mean that the Act will not have to be complied with. People and companies are still encouraged to comply. To assist in this regard we have a form on our website which can be completed and we will then assist such persons at a nominal fee. Please visit our website at www.beadvised.co.za