Access to information is a right entrenched under section 32 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Section 32 of the Constitution provides that:Everyone has the right of access to any information held by the state; and any information held by another person and that is required for the exercise or protection of any rights and
National legislation must be enacted to give effect to this right, and may provide for reasonable measures to alleviate the administrative and financial burden on the state
In order to fulfil the constitutional obligation, the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (Act No. 2 of 2000) (the Act) was enacted by Parliament and came into operation on 9 March 2001.
Objectives of the Act
To give effect to the constitutional right of access to information balancing it with any other rights;
To give effect to the constitutional obligations of the State of promoting human rights culture and social justice;
To establish voluntary and mandatory mechanisms of disclosing information; and
To promote transparency, accountability and effective governance of all public and private bodies.
Application of the Act
Application to records
Promotion of Access to Information applies to both public and private bodies as defined in the Act.
Exclusion of certain records
The Act does not apply to a record of a public or private body if that record is requested for purposes of criminal or civil proceedings and after the commencement of such proceedings, and if the production or access to the record for purposes of criminal or civil proceedings is provided for in any other law (section 7(1)).
The Act does not apply to the records of cabinet, cabinet committees, judicial functions of a court or a special tribunal, a record of a judicial officer of a court or special tribunal or a record of an individual member of parliament or a provincial legislature in that capacity (section 12).
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