In terms of section 51 of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (“PAIA”), all public and private bodies (including retirement funds) must prepare a PAIA manual, containing among others the following information:

  • address and contact details of the head of the body;
  • a notice regarding the categories of records of the body which are available without a person having to request access in terms of PAIA;
  • a description of the records of the body which are available in accordance with any other legislation;
  • sufficient detail to facilitate a request for access to records;
  • a description of the subjects on which the body holds records and the categories of records held on each subject.

A copy of the manual must be submitted to the South African Human Rights Commission. A copy must also be available for inspection at the registered office of the body (e.g. retirement fund). The manual must be updated on a regular basis.

The date of commencement of section 51 was 15 February 2002, but the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development has granted an exemption from the requirement of submission of the manual and has from time to time extended the exemption, the last of which was granted until 31 December 2020. Since there has not been a further extension yet, retirement funds should ensure that they comply with the requirements regarding the manual by no later than 31 December 2020.