The Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (Act No. 2 of 2000) (PAIA), which flows from section 32 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, gives effect to the constitutional right of access to any information held by the state and any information held by any other person, provided that such information is required for the exercise or protection of any rights.
Section 31(1)(a) of the Constitution entrenches every person's right to gain access to any information held by the state.
The purpose of the PAIA, which came into effect on 9 March 2001, is twofold:
1. To foster a culture of transparency and accountability in public and private bodies by giving effect to the right of access to information; and
2. to actively promote a society in which the people of South Africa have effective access to information to enable them to exercise and protect all of their rights more fully.