What does PAIA mean for us
The Promotion of Access to Information Act, Act No. 2 of 2000 or PAIA entrenches our valuable democracy.
As we boldly emerge from the manacles of a segregationist government that conducted its business in sinister secrecy, our beloved country became a shining example of democracy, openness and fairness. The social victory achieved in 1994, was entrenched in the Bill of Rights—section 8 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Act No. 108 of 1996).
Central to ensuring that our people will not be subjected to future secrecy and unfairness, the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (Act No. 2 of 2000) (PAIA) was assented to in February 2000. We proudly stand behind the PAIA as one of the most liberal freedoms of information legislations in the world.
Accordingly, the implementation of PAIA is overseen by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), a body that protects, promotes and monitors the observance of human rights in South Africa. The SAHRC stands for and ensures the upholding of human rights, dignity and equality. The commission’s role in ensuring the implementation of PAIA is to monitor compliance, provide training and assist deputy information officers as well as members of the public to exercise their right to information.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is committed to the implementation of PAIA and has ensured that our new organisational structure has made provision for a dedicated office to implement PAIA. Our approach emphasises the importance of participative democracy, constant flow of empowering information, while also ensuring that our communities, particularly those at grassroots, understand their role in upholding our democracy.
Section 32 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa stipulates that everyone has the right of access to any information held by the state and provides for the horizontal application of the right of access by another person to everyone when that information is required for the exercise or protection of any rights.
Through the PAIA, we are futher assured of upholding the principles of Batho Pele – People First!
Democracy is a right, a responsibility and a duty! Working together, we can do more to uphold this democracy and everything it stands for!