Personeelfunksie: 30 Julie 2015
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Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) – Compliance with changes in legislation

A2The purpose of PAIA is to promote a culture of transparency, accountability and good governance in both the public sector and the private sector. The Act therefore imposes specific compliance requirements on these sectors, one of which is to submit a Section 51 manual.

During the 2011 calendar year the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development extended private bodies’ exemption from compiling Section 51 manuals, from 31 December 2011 to 31 December 2015. Certain private bodies were, however, not granted this exemption. They operate in specific sectors with 50 or more employees, or operate in specific sectors and have an annual turnover equal to or exceeding specific amounts. Thus, their section 51 manuals should have been submitted by 31 December 2011. (Refer to Note at the bottom of this article).

By definition a private body is: 

  1. A natural person who carries on or has carried on any trade, business or profession, but only in such capacity; or
  2. A partnership which carries on or has carried on trade, business or profession; or
  3. Any former or existing juristic person, excluding a public body.

In terms of Section 51 of PAIA, the head of a private body must compile a Section 51 manual and submit it to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) by 31 December 2015. It must also be made available at the company offices and on their website.

Based on the above definition of a private body, all private companies, partnerships, close corporations, trusts, body corporates and property/home owners’ associations, trading or not, must compile and submit a Section 51 manual. Trading in these instances means any form of income, including investment income.

Any individual who trades in his or her own name, is also required to compile and submit a Section 51 manual.

The head of a private body who wilfully or in a grossly negligent manner fails to comply, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years.

For further information on PAIA manuals and submission to the SAHRC before 31 December 2015, please contact your relationship director or Ceri-Anne Hill at or (021) 840 1600.


The particular sectors and turnover amounts:


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