Two out of three requests for information through PAIA were refused by government departments last year, spokesperson Murray Hunter points out in a report in The Times.
‘If compliance with the Promotion of Access to Information Act is a litmus test for the state of government and corporate accountability, the signs are worrying,’ he said. According to a 2012 survey by the South African History Archive, which facilitates and tracks Promotion of Access to Information Act requests, of the 159 submitted, 102 were either outright refused or simply received no response within the 30-day deadline.
‘While the ‘big ticket’ secrets get much attention, many South Africans are denied much more basic information that they need in their daily lives and struggles,’ said Hunter. This ranged from information pertaining to housing lists to water pollution, municipal budgets and corruption. Director of the Institute for Accountability Southern Africa, Advocate Paul Hoffman, is quoted as saying the government appeared to be preparing ‘for the more secret and less open form of administration’.