The Promotion of Access to Information Act of 2000 requires most entities to provide an information manual setting out the documents which are readily available to anyone seeking information from the entity.  The number of businesses, including private companies, required to prepare a manual is inestimable.  Some private companies have now been exempted from the need to produce a manual for the next six months up to 31 December 2020.

The exempted private companies are those within specific sectors and with 50 or more employees or a specified annual turnover.  It is not clear what the rationale is for a six months exemption from a statutory provision which serves no useful purpose and should be repealed.

The sectors and minimum annual turnover are:

Agriculture (R6million);

Mining and quarrying (R22m);

Manufacturing (R30m);

Electricity, gas and water (R30m);

Construction (R15m);

Retail and motor trade and repair services (R45m);

Wholesale trade, commercial agents and allied services (R75m);

Catering, accommodation and other trade (R15m);

Transport, storage and communications (R30m);

Finance and business services (R30m);

Community, special and personal services (R15m).

With general descriptions like “other trade” and “business services” and “personal services” it is difficult to see how these can be called sectors.  There has never been anything rational about this law so the exempting gazette (number 44785 government notice 397 dated 30 June 2021) comes as no surprise.