"To compile a PAIA Manual or not to compile a PAIA Manual?"… That is the Question


Certain entities are exempt from compiling a PAIA Manual until 31 December 2021, but this depends on various factors, such as the type of entity, the sector in which the entity operates and the entity's total annual turnover or number of employees.​​

The right of access to information is a fundamental human right entrenched in South Africa's Constitution.  The Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (PAIA) was enacted to give effect to this right.  Before 30 June 2021, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) was mandated to oversee compliance with PAIA. This mandate was transferred to the Information Regulator on 30 June 2021, when the Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (POPIA) became effective.

PAIA enables a person to access information held by a public body or a private body.  This includes an obligation on each public and private body to compile a manual containing certain prescribed information about it.  This manual is commonly referred to as a "PAIA Manual". 

Some private bodies have historically been exempted from compiling and publishing a PAIA Manual.  The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services has again exempted certain private bodies from compiling and publishing a PAIA Manual following the implementation of POPIA.  This exemption expires on 31 December 2021.  The Information Regulator has stated that this is the final exemption that will be granted, and that, from 1 January 2022, all public and private bodies (including those exempted, as set out below) must have compiled and published a PAIA Manual.

Which private bodies are exempt from compiling a PAIA Manual until 31 December 2021?

  • Sole proprietors
  • Partne​rships
  • Political parties
  • Private companies (as defined in the Companies Act, 2008) which:
    • operate in one of the sectors listed below; and
    • generate an amount less than the corresponding total annual turnover listed below or employ fewer than the corresponding number of employees listed below.​​
Total Annual Turnover Number of Employees
Agriculture ZAR6 millionOR50 employees
Mining and Quarrying
ZAR22.5 million50 employees
ZAR30 million50 employees
Electricity, Gas and WaterZAR30 million50 employees
ConstructionZAR15 million50 employees
Retail, Motor Trade and Repair ServicesZAR45 million50 employees
Wholesale Trade, Commercial Agents and Allied ServicesZAR75 million50 employees
Catering, Accommodation and other Trade
ZAR15 million50 employees
Transport, Storage and CommunicationsZAR30 million50 employees
Finance and Business ServicesZAR30 million50 employees
​Community, Special and Personal ServicesZAR15 million50 employees

Which private bodies are not exempt from compiling a PAIA Manual? 

​All other private bodies (i.e. not listed above) must compile a PAIA Manual as soon as possible. This includes:

  • Private companies (as defined in the Companies Act, 2008) that operate in the above-mentioned sectors, but are larger businesses i.e:
    • their turnover is either equal to or more than the corresponding amounts listed above (under "Total Annual Turnover"); or
    • ​the number of employees in their employment i​s equal to or more than the corresponding number listed above (under "Number of Employees".
  • Other types of companies e.g. personal liability companies and public companies.

​ Are you required to submit your PAIA Manual to the Information Regulator? 

​No, unless the Information Regulator requests it. You must, however, make it available:
  • on your website;
  • if you are a private body, at your principal place of business, or, if you are a public body, at your head office, for inspection during normal business hours; and
  • to any person that requests it and pays a reasonable amount.
    • ​​​​​​​


These materials are provided for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal or other professional advice. While every effort is made to update the information regularly and to offer the most current, correct and accurate information, we accept no liability or responsibility whatsoever if any information is, for whatever reason, incorrect, inaccurate or dated. We accept no responsibility for any loss or damage, whether direct, indirect or consequential, which may arise from access to or reliance on the information contained herein.

© Copyright Webber Wentzel. All Rights reserved.

Webber Wentzel > News > "To compile a PAIA Manual or not to compile a PAIA Manual?"… That is the Question
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