12 October 2022

PAIA Manuals – Compulsory For All Public And Private Bodies

Until 31 December 2021, all private bodies were exempt from having a PAIA manual except for certain large private companies, personal liability companies, public companies, non-profit companies and state-owned companies. Examples of those who were exempt are a sole proprietor, close corporation, body corporate, and most small to medium sized entities.
As from 1 January 2022 all public and private bodies are required in terms of Sections 14 and 51 of PAIA, to compile a manual on how to access their records. No public or private body is exempt.  This includes a sole proprietor, close corporation and body corporate.
The Information Regulator has published PAIA Guidelines and manual templates for both public and private bodies who wish to publish their own manuals.  Unfortunately, these templates have many shortcomings as it leaves bodies too many facts to determine themselves and leaves low public interest organisations with too much to do.  The templates are also not comprehensive enough for high public interest organisations.  Bodies will therefore not achieve the desired outcome and will still be left with a substantial amount of work to do themselves and fail to have a good manual.  Bodies are not obligated to use the Information Regulator’s PAIA Manual templates.
How can MGI Bass Gordon assist you?

  • We can help you determine if you are a low or high public interest organisation, should you be unsure.
  • We have the in-house expertise to draft a compliant PAIA manual.
  • If you would prefer to download the regulator’s templates for public and private bodies and draft your manual yourself, we can review it for you. 

What must you do with your PAIA manual once it is completed?
Your manual needs to be available on your website (if you have one) and be kept at your principal place of business. Your manual does not need to be submitted to the Information Regulator or anyone else, unless it is requested.

What are the consequences of non-compliance?
Penalties for non-compliance with section 51 are a fine or imprisonment not exceeding two years (section 90 of PAIA).
Should you require our assistance in compiling your PAIA manual or should you need more information, please contact your MGI partner or our Statutory Compliance division on either 021 405 8500 or , you can reach us by email at info@bassgordon.co.za