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Promotion of Access to Information Amendment Bill Tabled

November 1, 2019


1 November 2019

The Promotion of Access to Information Amendment Bill has been tabled in parliament.

The proposed legislation 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.

The bill 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.

A new Chapter 2A is 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 proposed 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.

Meanwhile, during a speech at a Black Lawyers’ Association function in Cape Town, the deputy minister of justice and constitutional development, John Jeffery, outlined steps the department was considering to deal with gender-based violence.

Measures include easy access to a portal on a website with information on protection orders and forms and the ability to actually apply online for such protection orders and to receive them electronically; enhanced linkages between courts and the police in respect of protection orders and access to such orders and warrants; e-justice systems which could be developed to ensure easier access for victims to services in respect of protection orders in particular, as well as the creation of a proper record system to be used by the police and prosecutors to know if there are protection orders against an accused and to better deal with such cases; the formalizing of informal ADR systems with proper legislation and judicial oversight and the availability of victim services to all victims of GBV and not only sexual offences.