South Africa

Promotion of Access to Information Act 2000 (Act No. 2 of 2000)

Year of Version:2000
Date of Entry into Force:March 9, 2001
Date of Text (Enacted):February 2, 2000
Type of Text:IP-related Laws: enacted by the Legislature
Subject Matter:Copyright and Related Rights (Neighboring Rights), Enforcement of IP and Related Laws, Other, Undisclosed Information (Trade Secrets)
The purpose of this Act is to give effect to constitutional right of access to information (Chapter 3, Section 9(a) & (b)(i)), as stipulated in Section 32 of the Constitution.
The Act provides South African citizens the right of access to records held by the State, government bodies and private bodies.
Among others, Part 2, Chapter 3, Section 29(1)(2) gives right to request access and reproduce the records held by public bodies. These rights pertain to records that are in written or printed form, consist of visual images, held on computer or in an electronic or machine-readable form.

Moreover, the Act hampers the access to information when it involves undisclosed information regarding commercial interests of public and private bodies.
Part 2, Chapter 4 of the Act, refers, inter alia, to the protection of commercial interests of public bodies relating to the mandatory protection of commercial information, in particular trade secrets or commercial and financial secrets or commercial competition (Section 36(a)(b)(c)), the protection of certain confidential information that may constitute a breach of duty of confidence stipulated in an agreement in contract (Section 37), and the protection of the economic interest and the financial welfare of Republic and commercial activities of public bodies (Sections 42(3),(4) & 43(1)).
Part 3, Chapter 4 provides for some provisions on undisclosed information of private bodies relating to the mandatory protection of the commercial information of a third party (Section 64(1)), the protection of any kind of property (Section 66 (b)), and the commercial information of private body concerning trade secrets or financial and commercial information (Section 68(1)).

Section 93(1) of this Act states that it takes effect on a date determined by the President by proclamation in the Gazette, and Section 93(2) provides that different dates will be determined for other provisions of the Act.
Available Texts: 

Promotion of Access to Information Act 2000 (Act No. 2 of 2000) Promotion of Access to Information Act 2000 (Act No. 2 of 2000), Complete document (pdf) [669 KB]

Related Legislation:
WIPO Lex No.:ZA081


South Africa