Public Access to Information
Section 32 of the Constitution states:
“Everyone has a right of access to any information held by the state and any information held by another person that is required for the exercise or protection of any rights.”
The Promotion of Access to Information Act, No. 2 of 2000 (PAIA) was enacted to give effect to the constitutional right of access to information. PAIA came into operation on 9 March 2001.
In terms of the Constitution and PAIA, all people in South Africa, including non-nationals, can request information from public and private bodies.
OBJECTIVES OF PAIA
- To promote transparency, accountability and effective governance of all public and private bodies
- To assist members of the public to effectively scrutinize and participate in decision making by public bodies
- To ensure that the state promotes a human rights culture and social justice
- To encourage openness
- To establish voluntary and mandatory mechanisms or procedures which give effect to the right of access to information in a speedy, inexpensive and effortless manner