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Promotion of Access to Information Amendment Act in Effect

April 6, 2021

Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

The Promotion of Access to Information Amendment Act came into effect on 1 April 2021.

The justice and constitutional development department published Proclamation 10 in Government Gazette 44403.
President Ramaphosa assented to the act in June 2020.

Parliament passed the Promotion of Access to Information Amendment Bill and sent it to president Ramaphosa for assent in December 2019.

The bill was tabled in parliament at the end of October 2019.

It was drawn up by the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services.

The committee called for comment on the bill at the end of July 2019.

A new Chapter 2A was proposed focused on the publication and availability of certain records of political parties.

Political parties (including independent candidates) will be expected to create and keep records of any money paid or donated by persons or entities to a political party which is more than R100 000; any money lent to the political party; any money paid on behalf of a political party; assets, services or facilities provided to a political party; and any sponsorships provided to a political party. The records must be kept for at least five years after they have been created.

The records will need to be made available on a quarterly basis on the social media platforms of the political parties concerned.

The legislation flows from a Constitutional Court decision in 2018 that declared the act invalid as it did not provide for recording, preserving and making information available about private funding of political parties and independent candidates.

Parliament was ordered to make the necessary amendments.

The select committee on security and justice adopted the bill without amendments.

The act aims to amend the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000, so as to:

• provide for information on the private funding of political parties and independent candidates to be recorded, preserved and made available; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

Meanwhile, in Gazette 44404, the department published amendments to the act’s Regulations.

Regulation 9B on availability of records of political parties is inserted.

It stipulates that the records must be available for inspection “from Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays, from 8h00 to 16h00 at the physical business address of a political party; and electronically on the website of the political party, if that political party has a website”.

Other notices published include:

• Gazette 44361 – establishment of Specialised Commercial Crimes Courts in the Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West and Northern Cape provinces;
• Gazette 44383 – section 58(2) of the Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (No.4 of 2013) to become applicable to processing referred to in section 57 of the said Act on 1 July 2021 – “Responsible parties may not carry out information processing that has been notified to the Regulator in terms of subsection (1) until the Regulator has completed its investigation or until they have received notice that a more detailed investigation will not be conducted”;
• Gazette 44383 – South African Legal Practice Council – amendments to Rules of the Council;
• Gazette 44383 – referral of matters of the affairs of the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality situated in the Kwazulu-Natal Province to Special Investigating Unit – investigation to focus on the period between 12 October 2012 and the date of publication of the notice.