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Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA)

Do you have a Promotion of Access to Information Act (“PAIA”) manual and Information Officer in place?

You should all be aware of the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (“POPIA”) which took effect on 01 July 2020. Not all provisions are yet applicable as some only come into force on 30 June 2021. A grace period until 01 July 2021 has been granted after which possible penalties and sanctions could be applied. We at Omne want to assist you with some of the aspects of this Act.

This letter is not going to describe the consequences of data breaches in terms of POPIA which you will need to discuss with your legal representatives, but rather to explain some other important aspects which all businesses should have in place to be maintained and updated every year.
Every entity must comply with POPIA (with some exemptions explained below) and would require the appointment of an information officer. The information officer is the person responsible within the entity for POPIA compliance, privacy and data governance. Part of these regulations include the compulsory obligation to develop a compliant Promotion of Access to Information Act (“PAIA”) manual, as well as internal processes and procedures to advance data subject participation and internal POPIA training.
There are certain exemptions:
The notice has not increased the turnover threshold for the industries as the previous notice had. The industries that are quoted below are as per the notice in the gazette. The list is not clear so you might struggle to determine which industry you fall into. There is, unfortunately, no other guidance. You’ll just have to pick the one that is closest to your industry.
How to determine if you are exempt:
  1. Is the private body a company in terms of the Companies Act?
  2. Does the company operate within any of the sectors listed under column 1 of the schedule?
  3. Does the company have 50 or more employees OR
  4. Does the company have an annual turnover equal or more than the amount listed under column 2 of the schedule?
  • Point 1 and 2 are compulsory submission
  • Only point 3 and not 4 applies – Company must submit.
  • Only point 4 and not 3 applies – Company must submit.
  • here point 3 and 4 do not apply – The company is exempt from submission.
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A PAIA Manual includes the following information:
  1. Postal and street address, phone and fax number and, if available, e-mail address of the head of the body.
  2. Description of, and how to obtain access to, a guide on how to use the Act to get information from bodies.
  3. Records are available to an interested party without having to request access in terms of PAIA.
  4. Description of the records of the body, which are available in accordance with any other legislation.
  5. How to request records from the body in terms of the Act.
  6. Various information related to the Protection of Personal Information Act.
  7. Such other information as may be prescribed by the Minister.
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If you have not already done this, please get hold of us so that we may assist you with the PAIA manual as well as the internal procedures which set out advance data subject participation and internal POPIA training. We can set up a Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp or traditional call meeting. 
(087 802 7811)

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