Access to Information Network (ATIN)
The Access to Information Network (ATIN) formally known as the PAIA Civil Society Network was established in November 2008 in response to the need for greater collaboration and cooperation amongst organisations and individuals working to achieve a culture of openness and accountability through the effective implementation of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) in South Africa.
The member organisations are committed to improving the implementation and usage of PAIA, raising awareness about the right amongst citizens, and working with bodies subject to the Act to improve understanding.
ATIN aims to produce a shadow report annually, which is designed to complement the work done by the South African Human Rights Commission in monitoring the implementation of PAIA by providing a perspective on implementation from organisations that utilise the rights in the Act on a regular basis.
Download the PAIA CSN Shadow Report 2014
Download the PAIA CSN Shadow Report 2013
Download the PAIA CSN Shadow Report 2011
Download the PAIA CSN Shadow Report 2010
Download the PAIA CSN Shadow Report 2009
ATIN has also collaborated on a number of advocacy initiatives aimed at protecting and improving the implementation of the right to know in South Africa. In particular the ATIN undertook a review of PAIA, which it submitted to parliment detailing the challenges experienced by civil society in implementing PAIA and recommending changes to the legislation. The ATIN also made a submission to parliament on the proposed Protection of State Information Bill. More recently SAHA has provided a submission of the Rules of Court that apply to PAIA litigation.
Download the PAIA CSN Proposed Amendments to the Rules of Procedure for Application to Court
Download the PAIA CSN Review of the Promotion of Access to Information Act
Download the PAIA CSN submission to parliament on the Protection of State Information Bill
> If you are interested in joining this network or would like further information please contact the Freedom of Information Programme.
Members of the Access to Information Network
The following organisations are currently actively involved in the work of ATIN
Centre for Environmental Rights (CER)
The Centre for Environmental Rights is a NGO established in October 2009 to provide legal and related support to environmental CSOs and communities. Its mission is to advance environmental rights in South Africa, and its vision is to facilitate civil society participation in environmental governance that is stronger, more streamlined, and better legally and scientifically equipped. As part of its work, CER uses PAIA to promote transparency and accountability in envrionmental governance.
Visit the Centre for Environmental Rights
Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS)
The Centre for Applied Legal Studies is an independent organisation committed to promoting democracy, justice, equality and peace in South Africa and addressing and undoing South Africa's legacy of oppression and discrimination through the realisation of human rights for all South Africans. CALS undertakes research, conducts public education and training sessions and provides legal advice.
Visit the Centre for Applied Legal Studies
Khulumani Support Group
The Khulumani Support Group is a non-profit membership-based organisation formed in 1995 by survivors and families of victims of the political conflict of South Africa's apartheid past. Khulumani has an extensive community outreach programme, which includes PAIA education, and has used PAIA internally to inform its work regarding issues arising from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Visit the Khulumani Support Group
Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC)
The Open Democracy Advice Centre is a NGO which promotes openness and transparency in South Africa's developing democracy. Its primary aims are to foster a culture of accountability in the public and private sector and to assist people in South Africa to realise their human rights. It offers support and advice on two key pieces of legislation: PAIA and the Protected Disclosures Act.
Visit the Open Democracy Advice Centre
Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM)
PSAM is a monitoring and research institute based at Rhodes University in Grahamstown which aims to improve public service delivery and the progressive realisation of constitutional rights by using various social accountability monitoring tools to monitor the public resource management cycle. PSAM has utilised PAIA to access numerous documents of the Eastern Cape Government to assist in its monitoring work.
Visit the Public Service Accountability Monitor
South African History Archive (SAHA)
The following organisations have been involved in the work of ATIN in previous years:
African Centre for Biosafety
The African Centre for Biosafety campaigns against the genetic engineering, privatisation, industrialisation and corporate control of Africa's food systems and the commodification of nature and knowledge. It provides research, policy analysis, advocacy and knowledge sharing.
Visit the African Centre for Biosafety
Black Sash is a NGO that seeks to promote and protect socio-economic rights. Black Sash provides advice on the exercise of rights, including the right to information under PAIA, as well as undertaking rights education and advocacy work.
Visit Black Sash
Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI)
The Freedom of Expression Institute is a NGO dedicated to protecting and fostering the rights to freedom of expression and access to information, and to opposing censorship. FXI undertakes a wide range of activities in support of these objectives, including lobbying, education, monitoring, research, publicity and litigation.
Visit the Freedom of Expression Institute
Legal Resources Centre (LRC)
The Legal Resources Centre is a NGO offering legal advice and assistance to vulnerable and/or marginalised members of society. The LRC engages in public interest litigation, including PAIA, where its clients, most of whom are NGO's, encounter problems when using the Act to collect evidence for legal matters.
Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory is a NGO which contributes to the making of just society by keeping alive the legacy of Nelson Mandela, provding an integrated public information resource on his life and times and by convening dialogue around critica social issues.
Visit Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI)
The Socio-Economic Rights Institute is a NGO providing professional, dedicated and expert socio-economic rights assistance to individuals, communities and social movements in South Africa. SERI conducts applied research, engages with government, advocates for policy and legal reform, facilitates civil society coordination and mobilisation, and litigates in the public interest.
Visit the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa
Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC)
The Southern Africa Litigation Centre is a NGO dedicating to promoting and advancing human rights and the rule of law in southern Africa, primarily through strategic litigation supporting and capacity building. SALC provides technical and monetary support to local and regional lawyers and organisations in litigating human rights and rule of law cases in the region. SALC also provides training in human rights and rule of law issues and facilitates networks of human rights lawyers and organisations throughout southern Africa.
Visit the Southern Africa Litigation Centre
uSizo Lwanamuhla aims to integrate modern medicine and traditional healing in the fight against HIV/AIDS and opportunistic diseases, by promoting the use of traditional health practitioners (THPs) in the development of a culturally relevant and comprehensive model of HIV/AIDS health care delivery system driven by health, welfare and safety of community.
Find out more about uSizo Lwanamula
Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance (VEJA)
The Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance is an alliance of 13 organisations from the Vaal region. VEJA seeks to promote a culture of environmental awareness and sustainable development, and to assist and educate communities to undersand the relationsip between social, political, environmental and economic factors limiting or enabling the achievement of a sustantainable, equitable and just society.
Find out more about the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance
Friends of the Access to Information Network
South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC)
The South African Human Rights Commission is the national institution established under chapter nine of the Constitution to support constitutional democracy. The SAHRC has oversight and monitoring responsibilities to ensure that public and private bodies fulfill their responsibilites in terms of section 32 of the Constition and sections 14 and 51 of PAIA. Its specific responsibilities in relation to PAIA are outlined in sections 83-85 of the Act. The SAHRC also receives complaints in relation to decisions or the conduct of officials under PAIA.
Visit the South African Human Rights Commission