On May 7, 2023, South Africa’s Information Regulator published a notice requesting the heads of all private bodies (e.g., companies and retirement funds) submit a report to it under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) (section 83(4)). The Information Regulator has the authority to request reports from private organizations about access to information requests received and handled. This compulsory report must be submitted by June 30, 2023. Access the report’s portal here.
What is a PAIA section 83(4) report?
This section permits¹ the Information Regulator to request the heads of private bodies to submit reports to it about requests for access to records that the private body holds.
The Information Regulator must then submit an annual report to the National Assembly². If the Information Regulator chooses, it can include information about access requests that private bodies receive in its annual report to the National Assembly.
- Please note the difference between a section 32 report and a section 83(4) report:
The section 32 PAIA report applies to information officers of public bodies, and section 83(4) PAIA report applies to heads of private bodies.
- The Information Regulator has not asked private bodies to submit a report like this before.
¹ Section 83(4) of the Promotion of Access to Information Act: For the purpose of the annual report referred to in section 84 and if so requested by the Information Regulator, the head of a private body may furnish to that Commission information about requests for access to records of the body.
² See section 84 of the Promotion of Access to Information Act.
What is a private body?
According to PAIA ‘private body’ means:
- A natural person who carries or has carried on any trade, business, or profession, but only in such capacity
- A partnership which carries or has carried on any trade, business, or profession;
any former or existing juristic person; or
- A political party, but excludes a public body
A retirement fund is a private body.
The ‘Head’ of a private body has been interpreted by many people to refer to the Principal Officer of a fund. Thus, the principal officer of the fund would have the responsibility to submit this report.
To learn more about South Africa’s PAIA reporting, read Tennant’s full article on the topic. Tennant is Asinta’s employee benefits consulting Partner in South Africa. If you need support with your benefits in the country, feel free to reach out to Asinta and we will connect you with Tennant.