28 October 2016
Failing to disclose key information about their municipality: an open letter to municipal managers
The Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (PAIA) and related laws required of certain institutions to make certain information accessible on their website. The new 'Requestee' page on the SAHA PAIA Request Tracker, a webpage providing information about every public and private body to which a PAIA request has been submitted through the Tracker, tracks compliance with these laws.
SAHA has sent the following open letter to all municipalities that have failed to disclose this information:
Dear Municipal Manager,
NOTIFICATION OF MUNICIPALITY’S FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH SECTION 15 OF THE PROMOTION OF ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT AND RELATED LEGISLATION
The constitutional right of access to information requires that certain information be made publicly accessible, without the need for a formal request. The Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (PAIA) and related legislation gives effect to this duty.
It has come to our attention that your municipality is failing to comply with certain statutory provisions of PAIA, as has been recorded on SAHA’s public facing website tracing compliance with PAIA – see http://foip.saha.org.za/requestee/search.
Section 15 of PAIA places a statutory burden on public bodies, such as your municipality, to compile a list of records and categories of records that are readily available without the need for a formal request. Further, related, legislation requires that, amongst others, the following records be created and made publicly accessible:
1. Annual Budget – In terms of section 24 of the Municipal Finance Management Act, 2003 (MFMA) every municipality must prepare and approve the annual budget 30 days before the budget year. In terms of section 22 of the MFMA the municipality must make these annual budgets publicly accessible.
2. Municipal Report – In terms of section 121(1) of the MFMA every municipality, and every municipal entity, must, for each financial year, prepare an annual report.
3. IDP Report – In terms of section 25 of the Municipality Systems Act, 2000 (MSA) every municipality must prepare an Integrated Development Plan (IDP), every five years. Section 34 of the MSA requires an annual review of and report on progress with respect to the implementation of the IDP.
You are further required in terms of section 21A of the MSA, as well as in terms of section 75 of the MFMA, to publish these three reports on your municipality’s website. If your municipality does not have a website, section 21B of the MSA requires of the municipality to establish one, and to the extent it cannot afford to, to approach National Treasury to display these and other records on an organized, centralised local government website.
You are requested therefore to comply with the statutory provisions of PAIA and publish the aforementioned records on your website. Should your municipality fail to comply with our requests, as contained herein, by the end of November 2016, it is the intention of our office to submit a PAIA request for the missing records.
Your urgent attention is appreciated.
The South African History Archive
Read more about SAHA's PAIA requests here
Read more about the compliance functionality of the Tracker here
Access the Requestee page here