The Promotion of Access to Information Act came into being in the year of our Lord 2000.
When it was eventually discovered that virtually every person in South Africa, including the informal street vendor selling second hand peaches would have to compile a manual, an exemption was swiftly published. No doubt the fact that each of these manuals needed to be published in the Government Gazette, which would see the whole of South Africa’s forests go into providing the required pulp, helped motivate the postponement.
It is now sixteen years (and who knows how many exemptions) later and we have just learnt the following:
The South African Human Rights Commission received notice on 26 November 2015 from the office of the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services confirming that the Minister has "decided to further exempt private bodies from compiling the Manual contemplated in section 51(1) of PAIA for a period of five years with effect from 1 January 2016."
“The notice of exemption is yet to be gazetted. The Commission will make same available as soon as it has been published. (Please see Government Notice 34914, dated 30 December 2011).”
We need to consult the Guinness Book of records to see whether we are not fast approaching a new world record for NOT implementing legislation.
To those who did get their manuals sorted, well done. Tick it off the “to do” list.
The rest can now continue their slumber uninterrupted – we’ll wake you in five years’ time.