31 December Deadline
Most people don't know that they are required to register with the Human Rights Commission, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act. The deadline date for submission of your information is 31 December 2011. Please read more…… see below in red
Who needs to Register?
In terms of the Act everyone who trades in any way needs to register. If you are running a small business from home or a retail shop. Whether you're running a service business from your car or running your business from a laptop out of a coffee shop - you need to register.
Whether you are running as a Sole Proprietor (in your own name) or as a Closed Corporation or PTY (LTD) you need to register with the SA Human Rights Commission.
What if I don't Register?
In terms of the Act, people who fail to register can be fined up to R15 000 or imprisoned by up to two years.
By when should I register?
The original deadline was set for 2003 and then moved to August 2005. The then Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Brigette Sylvia Mabandla, extended the deadline to 31 December 2011.
There is however a lot of confusion about the deadline. Some industries (depending on turnover) needed to be registered by 31 December 2005. Some people have interpreted the exemption from the deadline (31 August 2005) as an exemption from submission completely. This is however not the case.
How do I register with the Human Rights Commission?
I downloaded these notes off http://www.sahrc.org.za/home/index.php?ipkContentID=70&ipkMenuID=51
Please note in general that the PAIA legislation creates the framework to the right to access information enshrined in section 32 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996. The purpose of this legislation is to promote a culture of transparency, accountability and good governance both in the private and public sectors. Therefore, the Act places specific compliance requirements on both state institutions and private sector.
PAIA gives a requester the right to lodge a request from the information officer (head) of a private body. A private body as defined in the Act includes juristic bodies. The Act further defines the head of a private body as “the chief executive officer or equivalent officer of the juristic person or any person duly authorized by that office….”
In terms of section 51 of PAIA, the head of a private body must:
•compile a section 51 manual which is a roadmap of the company
•submit the manual to the South African Human Rights Commission once
•effect material changes if any each time these occur and resubmit to the SAHRC
•manuals must be submitted to SAHRC head office at the address listed below
•update any material changes on the manual on a regular basis;
•make the manual available as prescribed by the Act at the company offices and on their website;
•must annex a request form to the manual and also make request form available on the website and at the company premises access points;
•there are penalties for non compliance – please see section 90 of PAIA, the Commission has not imposed fines for non compliance to date but reserves the right to do.
The manual must among others contain the following information:
•details of the company’s postal, email and street address, fax and phone of the company,
•the description of available records generated by the company stating those which are automatically available and those that are available on request.
•outline the request procedure in terms of PAIA;
•state who the head of the company is (CEO is usually the Information Officer in terms of PAIA)
•stipulate the fees applicable as legislated by the Act which are chargeable to requesters
•remedies available to requesters if their request for information has been refused
•details facilitating request for access to a record etc.
For ease of reference please refer to the legislation available on this website as well as the prescribed request form C for making a request (this must be attached to the manual), fee structure and the exemptions passed by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development in 2005 . Please note the exemption from compliance lasts until the 31st December 2011.
Please post hard copies to the following address of the Commission;
Private Bag X2700
Tel: 011 877 3600
Fax: 011 403 0625