Freedom of Information

generate information in respect of their activities, maintain it systematically for easy
retrieval and to securely preserve its integrity.
Clause 5 requires public entities, public commercial entities and holders of statutory
bodies to disclose information which is in the interest of public accountability and in
the interests of protecting a right.
Under Clause 6, the Act will not apply to information from Cabinet and its
committees, with respect to judicial functions.
Part III of the Act deals with the process of requesting for access to information.
Clause 7 sets out the procedure for requesting for access to information. Requests
must be in accordance with whether the rights granted by the section 61(1) and (2)
of the Constitution, that is to say, requests to public entities may only be made by the
citizenry; requests to all entities are open to everyone but they are confined to limited
information, i.e. information required for the protection or exercise of a right. A request
may be made in writing and an information officer must afford the applicant a copy. A
written acknowledgement of the request must be provided immediately, including an
immediate response as well if that is possible and satisfactory to the applicant.
An applicant is not required to justify a request nor are the beliefs of the information
officer relevant to the grant of a request. The clause also sets out the details that must
be included in a request.
Clause 8 details the procedure for response by an information officer, including
the periods within which various stages of dealing with the request must be done, An
information officer must, within twenty-one days, determine whether or not to grant a
request and the applicant must be notified of the decision within that period, including
notification of the fee due, if any, which must be paid before access is granted.
If a request relates to information necessary to safeguard the life or liberty of a
person, the information officer’s determination whether to grant access must be made
within 48 hours.
Any information granted in terms of this Act is presumed to be accurate in every
An applicant may not be given access to information which involves a third party
before that party is notified and given an opportunity to consent or to object, giving
reasons for any objection.
Where requests are refused, applicants must be notified in writing with full reasons
and within the periods provided for and the applicants must be informed of their rights
to appeal against decisions of the information officer.
Clause 9 allows for an extension, once only, of the period within which a response
may be made by a period not exceeding fourteen days. The applicant must be notified
of the extension and the reasons therefor.
Under clause 10, if a response is not dealt with within the specified periods, the
information officer is deemed to have refused the request.
A request for access to information which has been prepared for another institution
may, under Clause 11 be deferred until the institution concerned has been presented with
the information. The clause also sets out the procedure, including the periods within
which a deferment must be handled and concluded to avoid prejudice to the applicant.
Clause 12 provides for the procedure with respect to information that cannot be
found or does not exist.

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