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Freedom of Information Bill

Aii
H.B. 6, 2019.] FREEDOM OF INFORMAT ION
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B
FREEDOM OF INFORMA ION

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FREEDOM OF INFORMATION BILL , 2019
M
emorandum
This Freedom of Information Bill, 2019 will repeal the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act [Chapter 10:27]. The Bill will give effect to section 62
of the Constitution which enshrines in the Declaration of Rights the right of access to
information.
In brief, the Bill sets out—
• the procedure for acces

s to information held by public institutions by the citizenry
and permanent residents;

the procedure for accessing by any person of informatio
n held by any person
where the information is necessary for the exercise or protection of a r
ight;

considerat
ions for the making available on a voluntary basis by entities, certain
categories of information thereby obviating the need for formal requests for such
information;
• the scope of limitations on the right of access to information which are
conceived,

in some cases, as mandatory and in others as discretionary, protections against
disclosure of information;

the
rights of third parties with respect to any information whose disclosure has
been requested;
• the role of principle of

ficers of entities and information officers in the
implementation of the right to access information;

the
procedures for internal appeals and court appeals against decisions made by
information officers or principle officers of entities with respect to requests for
access to information;

the time li
mits within which processes must be carried out; and

the
additional functions of the Human Rights Commission with respect to the
right of access to information, which are to be exercised in the normal course of
its role as the guardian of human rights.
In more detail, the Bill provides as follows—
PA

RT I
P
reliminary
This Part deals with preliminary matters.
Clause

1 sets out the short title of the Bill which takes its title from the specific
constitutional terminology, in line with global trends, with respect to the right.
Clause 2

defines terms used in the Bill and significant are the following terms
around which the Bill is structured, viz a viz “principle officer” being the person at
the helm of any entity; “information” which is cast very widely; “information officer
and “responsible person” who is the principle officer of a public or public commercial
entity.
Clause 3

states the objects of the Act as being essentially to give effect to the
exercise of the right of access to information.
Part II

of the Bill which deals with providing access to information, creates in
clause 4, a duty on entities to maintain the information of entities in a manner that
facilitates the exercise of the right to access information. The entities are compelled to
(i)
FREEDOM OF INFORMAT ION

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generate information in respect of their activities, maintain it systematically for easy
retrieval and to securely preserve its integrity.
Clause 5
requires public entities, public commercial entities and holders of sta
tutory
bodies to disclose information which is in the interest of public accountability and in
the interests of protecting a right.

Under Clause 6, the Act will not apply to information from Cabinet and its
committees, with respect to judicial functions.
Part

III of the Act deals with the process of requesting for access to information.
Clause 7

sets out the procedure for requesting for access to information. Requests
must be in accordance with whether the rights granted by the section 61(1) and (2)
of the Constitution, that is to say, requests to public entities may only be made by the
citizenry; requests to all entities are open to everyone but they are confined to limited
information, i.e. information required for the protection or exercise of a right. A request
may be made in writing and an information officer must afford the applicant a copy. A
written acknowledgement of the request must be provided immediately, including an
immediate response as well if that is possible and satisfactory to the a
pplicant.
An applicant is not required to justify a request nor are the beliefs of
the information

officer relevant to the grant of a request. The clause also sets out the details that must
be included in a request.
Clause

8 details the procedure for response by an information officer, including
the periods within which various stages of dealing with the request must be done, An
information officer must, within twenty-one days, determine whether or not to grant a
request and the applicant must be notified of the decision within that period, including
notification of the fee due, if any, which must be paid before access is granted.
If a request relates to information necessary to safeguard the life or l
iberty of a
person,

the information officer’s determination whether to grant access must be made
within 48 hours.
Any information

granted in terms of this Act is presumed to be accurate in every
respect.
An applica

nt may not be given access to information which involves a third party
before that party is notified and given an opportunity to consent or to object, giving
reasons for any objection.
Where

requests are refused, applicants must be notified in writing with full reasons
and within the periods provided for and the applicants must be informed of their rights
to appeal against decisions of the information officer.
Clause

9 allows for an extension, once only, of the period within which a response
may be made by a period not exceeding fourteen days. The applicant must be notified
of the extension and the reasons therefor.

Under clause 10, if a response is not dealt with within the specified periods, the
information officer is deemed to have refused the request.
A

request for access to information which has been prepared for another institution
may, under Clause 11 be deferred until the institution concerned has been presented with
the information. The clause also sets out the procedure, including the periods within
which a deferment must be handled and concluded to avoid prejudice to the applicant.
Clause 12

provides for the procedure with respect to information that cannot be
found or does not exist.
(ii)
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Clause 13 details the options of the forms by which access to information may
be given. These include inspection, copies of documents, listening, viewing, written
transcripts, in print or electronically. A request for access in a form specified by an
applicant must be granted unless it is not appropriate or is unduly onerous on the entity.
Reasonable steps must be taken to meet the form requested by a person with a disability.
Clause 14

allows the severance of requested information from information that
may not be disclosed.

Under Clause 15, an information officer is required to take certain measures set
out in that clause before giving access to any medical records of an applicant or of a
person represented by an applicant.

Under Clause 16, information must be provided in the officially recognised
language requested. If the information is not held in that language, the entity must
endeavour to cause the information to be translated into the requested language and
may recover the cost of the translation from the applicant.
Clause 17

provides for the prescribing, by the Minister, of various fees, if any,
that may be charged for requests for access to information.
Clause 18

requires responsible persons to make annual reports to the Human
Rights Commission on the numbers of requests received, granted, refused, appealed,
etc.
Clause 19

provides that entities are at liberty to publish or give access to any
information, even where the information may be exempt from publication in terms of
this Act, if it can still properly do so under the law or if required by law
to do so.
Part IV

of the Bill sets out various grounds upon which a request for access should
be refused or may be refused for the purpose of protecting rights and in
terests superior
to the right of access. Significant in this Part is that in some instances in clauses under
this Part, information must be refused whilst in other instances, information may be
refused, signalling a requirement to exercise appropriate discretion.

Thus clause 20 provides that some information may be refused if it falls under
this part.
Clause 21

forbids the unreasonable disclosure of personal information of people,
including deceased people. However, if a person is called upon to make representations
with regard to the request and neglects to do so, or if the person consents to the disclosure,
or if a person has been dead for more than ten years, or if the request
is in respect of
a person who is under the care of the applicant and disclosure is in the best interests
of the person, a request may not be refused. So too will a request not be refused with
respect to the personal information of a person who was an officer of a public entity
to the extent that the information requested relates to the person’s information as an
officer of the public entity. The disclosure of personal information relating to a deceased
person may be granted with the consent of their next of kin or legal representative or
if the information is requested by an executor of the estate of the dece
ased person.
Under Clause 22

, trade secrets, financial or commercial information or information
of a third party or information supplied in confidence by a third party should not be
disclosed. A private entity is similarly protected under this clause. Exceptions to
this protection include consent by the third party, disclosure necessary to facilitate
accountability, disclosure relating to expenditure of public funds or disclosure which
would reveal misconduct or deception.

Under Clause 23, disclosure which would constitute a breach of a duty of confidence
owed to a third party is prohibited. Also under this clause, an information officer can
(iii)
FREEDOM OF INFORMAT ION

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exercise his or her discretion with regard to the disclosure of information supplied in
confidence by a third party and if it is in the public interest that similar information
should continue to be supplied.

Under Clause 24, disclosure of information is prohibited where disclosure is
likely to endanger the life or safety of any person. An information officer may, in his
discretion, refuse a request whose disclosure might be inimical to the security of any
property or the safety of the public.
Clause 25

sets out situations where access to information in bail proceedings
must be refused and situations where access may, in the discretion of the information
officer, be refused in order to avoid impeding the prosecution of offences, and to prevent
the circumvention of the law resulting in the miscarriage of justice or facilitating the
commission of offences. Information may not be refused to the extent that it relates to
the general conditions of detention of persons in custody. In addition, an information
officer is authorised to refuse to deny or confirm the existence or non-existence of any
information which he must refuse or which he may refuse to disclose.

Under Clause 26, unless consent is given by the person concerned, legally privileged
information, i.e., confidential communications between the person and their doctor or
lawyer or between journalists and their sources are not to be disclosed.

Clause

27 details the circumstances in which an information officer may refuse
a request for access to information concerning the defence, security and international
relations of the State. Also under this clause, an information officer is authorised to
refuse to deny or confirm the existence or non-existence of any information which he
or she may refuse to disclose.
Similarly

under Clause 28, access to information relating to the economic interests
and financial welfare of the State may be refused if disclosure is likely to materially
jeopardise the interests and welfare of the State. The clause details the nature of the
information protected and extends to cover public entities. However, access to information
may not be refused if disclosure will facilitate accountability and transparency by the
State or public entities.
Research

information of third parties must not, under Clause 29, be disclosed if
disclosure is likely to cause serious disadvantage to a third party, a researcher or the
subject matter of the research. Under the same clause, research information of an entity
may not be disclosed if disclosure would expose the entity, researcher or subject matter
to disadvantage.
The

protection afforded under Clause 30 is designed to enable entities to conduct
their operations without opinions, consultations, minutes of meetings or any other
deliberations being the subject of mandatory disclosure so as to avoid inhibiting
candidness or premature disclosures which are detrimental to the success of policies or
could jeopardise the effectiveness of implementation of policies. Access may however
not be denied if the information has been in existence for more than twenty years or if
the information is required in terms of the Administrative Justice Act [Chapter 10:28].

Under Clause 31, information officers may refuse access to information if the
request is frivolous or vexatious or if the work involved in processing
a request would
substantially and unreasonably divert the resources of an entity. In such circumstances,
the information officer is required to notify the applicant giving reasons why the request
is so regarded.
Part V

of the Bill sets out the procedure to be followed in instances of reque
sts
for access to information which affects third parties.
(iv)
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Under Clause 32 , where access to information which involves information of
a third party which is protected under Part V is requested, an information officer is
required to take all necessary steps to notify the third party of the de
tails of the request,
the protection which might apply in terms of Part V of the Bill, the reasons why Clause
37 with respect to a possible overriding public interest might apply. The clause sets out
the periods within which the notification must be made.

Under Clause 33, a third party is granted the right to make representations with
respect to a request or to indicate his or her consent to the request. This must be done
within a stated period.

Under Clause 34, an information officer must make a decision within a specified
period and notify the third party of the decision. The decision must take account of the
representations and, in the case where it was not possible to notify a third party of the
request, the fact that the third party did not have the opportunity to make representations.
If the decision is to grant access, the third party must be notified of the right to appeal
within a specified period and that access will not be granted until after the determination
of the appeal.

In Part VI, the Bill provides for appeals by applicants or third parties against
decisions of an information officer.

Under Clause 35 such appeals, other than an appeal in terms of Clause 8, will be
appeals to the Secretary of the Zimbabwe Media Commission.
Clause

36 sets out the procedure for an appeal and the periods within which
actions must be taken.
Clause 37

elaborates on the procedure for appeals if the information involved
affects a third party.
Clause 38

sets out the process to be followed by the Commission in coming to a
decision on an internal appeal, the period within which the decision mus
t be made, the
notification thereof to the parties concerned including advising on the right to appeal the
internal appeal to the High Court. If a principle officer of an entity fails to give notice
of a decision within the specified periods, he or she is deemed to have dismissed the
appeal.
Part

VII provides for general matters. These are: exemption from liability under
Clause 39 of persons acting in good faith in the performance of their functions under
the Act and regulatory powers of the Commission under Clause 40, provides for the
power of the Commission to make regulations in consultation with the Minister in
terms of this Act.

Finally, Clause 41 repeals the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act [Chapter 10:27].

(v)
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ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
PA RT I
Preliminary
Section
1.
Short title .
2.

Interpretation.
3.

Objects
of Act. PART II
access to information
4. Duty to create, keep, or ganise and maintain information.
5.

Duty to disclose information.
6.

Act not to apply to certain public entities and persons. P

ART III
requests for access to information
7. Requests for access to information.
8.

Response to request.
9.

Extension of time.
10.

Deemed refusal.
1

1.
Deferment of access.
12.

Information that cannot be found or does not exist.
13.

Forms of access.

14.
Severability
.
15.

Access to health or other records.
16.

Language of access.

17.
Fees.
18.

Reports to Commission.
19.

Entities may grant greater access to information. P

ART IV
Grounds for refusal of access to information
20. Refusal of access.
21.

Protection of personal information of third party who is a natural perso
n.
22.

Protection of commercial information of third party and private entity
.
23.

Protection of certain other confidential information of third party .
24.

Protection of safety of individuals and property
.
25.

Protection
of information in bail proceedings, law enforcement and other legal
proceedings.
26.

Protection of legally privileged information.
27.

Protection of defence, security and international relations of State.
28.

Protection
of economic interests and financial welfare of State and commercial
interests of public entities.
29.

Protection of research information of third party or entity
.
30.

Operations of public entities.
31.

Manifestly
frivolous or vexatious requests, or requests involving substantial and
unreasonable diversion of resources.
FREEDOM OF INFORMAT ION

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PA RT V
notification and intervention of third Parties
Section

32.

Notice to third parties.
33.

Representations or consent by third parties.
34.

Decision on representations for refusal and notice thereof. P

ART VI
A
PPeals to Commission
35. Right to appeal.
36.

Procedure on appeal.
37.

Notice to and representations by third party
.
38.

Decision on appeal and notification thereof. P

ART VII
G
eneral
39. Liability .

40.
Regulations.
41.

Repeal of [ Chapter 10:27

] and savings.
2
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Printed by the Government Printer, Harare
H.B. 6, 2019.] 5
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BILL
TO additionally provide for the constitutional rights of expression, and freedom of the media; to provide further for the right of access to
information held by entities in the interest of public accountability or for
the exercise or protection of a right; to repeal the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act [Chapter 10:27]; and to provide for matters
connected therewith.

WHEREAS section 61 of the Constitution provides as f
ollows—
“61 Freedom of expression and freedom of the media
(1) Every person has the right to fr

eedom of expression, which includes—
(a)

fr
eedom to seek, receive and communicate ideas and other information;
(b) freedom

of

artistic

expr
ession
and

scientific

r
esearch
and

cr
eativity;
and
(c)

academic fr
eedom.
(2)

Every person is entitled to freedom of the media, which freedom includes
protection
of the confidentiality of journalists’

sources of information.
(3) Br

oadcasting and other electronic media of communication have freedom
of
establishment, subject only to State licensing procedures that—
(

a)
ar
e necessary to regulate the airwaves and other forms of signal
distribution; and
(b)

ar
e independent of control by government or by political or commercial
interests.
(4)

All
State-owned media of communication must—
FREEDOM OF INFORMAT ION

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35
40
( a) be fr ee to determine independently the editorial content of their broadcasts
or other communications;
(b)

be impartial; and
(

c)
affor
d fair opportunity for the presentation of divergent views and
dissenting opinions.

(5) Fr

eedom of expression and freedom of the media exclude—
(a)

incitement to viol
ence;
(b)

advocacy of hatr
ed or hate speech;
(c) malicious
injury to a person’s reputation or dignity; or
(d) malicious
or unwarranted breach of a person’s right to privacy.
AND

WHEREAS section 62 of the Constitution provides as follows—
“62 Access to information
(1)

Ever
y
Z
imbabwean
citizen

or per
manent
r
esident,
including

jur
istic
per
sons

and

the

Zimbabwean

media,

has

the

right

of

access

to

any

information

held

by

the

State
or by any institution or agency of government at every level, in so far
as the information

is required in the interests of public accountability.
(2)

Every person, including the Zimbabwean media, has the right of access to
any

information

held

by

any

person,

including

the

State,

in

so

far

as

the

information

is r

equired for the exercise or protection of a right.
(3)

Every person has a right to the correction of information, or the deletion
of

untrue,

err
oneous
or

misleading

information,

which

is

held

by

the

State

or

any

institution

or agency of the government at any level, and which relates to that person.
(

4) Legislation must be enacted to give effect to this right, but may restrict access
to

information

in

the

inter
ests
of

defence,

public

security

or

pr
ofessional
confidentiality
,

to

the

extent

that

the

r
estriction
is

fair
,
r
easonable,
necessary

and

justifiable

in

a
de

mocratic
soc
iety
ba
sed
on op
enness,
j
ustice,
hu
man
di
gnity,
e
quality
an
d
f
reedom.”;
AND

WHEREAS it is desirable, in accordance with the Constitution, to make
further provision in regard to access to information;
NOW

, THEREFORE, be it enacted by the Parliament and the President of
Zimbabwe as follows—
PA RT I
Preliminary
1 Short title
This

Act may be cited as the Freedom of Information Act, 2019 [Chapter 10:33].

2
Interpretation
In

this Act—
“applicant”

means a person requesting access to information in terms of this
Act;
“Commis

sion” means the Zimbabwe Media Commission established by section
248 of the Constitution;

entity” means a private entity, public entity, public commercial entity or statutory office;
“information”

includes but is not limited to any original or copy of documentary
material irrespective of its physical characteristics, such as records,
FREEDOM OF INFORMAT ION

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correspondence, fact, opinion, advice, memorandum, data, statistic, book,
drawing, plan, map, diagram, photograph, audio or visual record, and any

other tangible or intangible material, regardless of the form or medium
in which it is held, in the possession or under the control of the entity to
which a request is made under this Act;

information officer” means a person designated as such by the principle officer of an entity or any person acting in that capacity;
“media”

has the meaning given to it under the Zimbabwe Media Commission
Act [Chapter 10:34];
“Minister”

means the Minister responsible for information or any other Minister
to whom the President may, from time to time, assign the administration
of this Act;
“personal

information” means information about an identifiable individual,
and includes—
(

a)
information relating to the race, gender
, sex, pregnancy, marital
status, national, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation,
age, physical or mental health, well-being, disability, religion,
conscience, belief, culture, language and birth of the individual;
(b)

information
relating to the education or the medical, criminal or
employment history of the individual or information relating to
financial transactions in which the individual has been involved;
(c)

any identify
ing number, symbol or other particular assigned to the
individual;
(d)

the address, fingerprints or blood type of the individual;
(

e)
the
personal opinions, views or preferences of the individual, except
where they are about another individual or about a proposal for a
grant, an award or a prize to be made to another individual;
(

f)
correspondence sent by the individual that is implicitly or explicitly

of a private or confidential nature or further correspondence that
would reveal the contents of the original correspondence;
(g)

the views or opinions of another individual about the individual;
(h)

the
views or opinions of another individual about a proposal for a
grant, an award or a prize to be made to the individual, but excluding
the name of the other individual where it appears with the views or
opinions of the other individual; and
(i)

the name of the individual
where it appears with other personal
information relating to the individual or where the disclosure of
the name itself would reveal information about the individual, but
excludes information about an individual who has been dead for
more than twenty years;

principal officer”, in relation to any entity, means the person who is the executive head, by whatever name known, of the entity concerned, or
any person acting in that capacity;
“private

entity” means an entity other than a public entity, public commercial
entity or statutory office;

public commercial entity” means a company or other commercial entity which is owned or controlled by the State or by a person on behalf of the State;
“public

entity” has the meaning given to it in the Public Finance Management
Act [Chapter 22:19];

responsible person” means the principal officer or one of several officers of—
(a)

a public ent
ity;
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(b) a public com mercial entity;

whose duty
it is to create, keep, organise and maintain information on
behalf of the entity;
“Secretary” means the Secretary of the Zimbabwe Media Commission;
“third

party”, in relation to a request for access to information, means any
person, group of persons or organisation other than the person who made
the request;
“trade

secret” means information, including a formula, pattern, compilation,
programme, device, product, method, technique or process, that is used,
or may be used, in business or for any commercial advantage and—
(a)

derives independent economic
value, actual or potential, from not
being generally known to the public or to other persons who can
obtain economic value from its disclosure or use; and
(

b)
is the subject of reasonable ef
forts to prevent it from becoming
generally known; and
(c)

the disclosu
re of which would result in harm or improper benefit.
3

Objects
of Act
The objec

ts of this Act are—
(a)

to give
effect to the right of access to information in accordance with the
Constitution; and
(

b)
t
o establish voluntary and mandatory mechanisms or procedures to
give effect to the right of access to information so as to facilitate swift,
inexpensive and simple access to information; and
(

c)
to promote transparency
, accountability and effective governance by
taking any steps necessary to—
(i)

educate
or inform the public of their rights in terms of this Act; and
(ii)

ensure that
appropriate assistance is afforded to members of the
public seeking to exercise their right of access to information in
order to facilitate the exercise of the right.
PART II
access to information
4

Duty to create, keep, organise and maintain info
rmation
Every

responsible person or holder of a statutory office shall cause to be created,
kept, organised and maintained information—

(a)

in the interests of
public accountability; or
(b)

in the exercise or
protection of a right.
5

Duty to d
isclose information

Subject

to this Act, every public entity, public commercial entity or holder of a
statutory office shall have a written information disclosure policy through which it
discloses information in the interests of public accountability or that is required for the
exercise or protection of a right.
6

Act not t
o apply to certain public entities and persons
This

Act does not apply to information relating to—
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(a) deliberations or f unctions of the Cabinet and its committees;

(b)

information prote
cted from disclosure in victim friendly courts.

PART III
request for access to information
7 Requests for access to information
(1)

Any person who wishes to request access to information from any public
entity, public commercial entity or the holder of a statutory office in accordance with
the rights granted under this Act may apply in writing in a prescribed manner to an
information officer of the public entity, public commercial entity or holder of a statutory
office concerned.
(2)

On receipt of a request, an information officer must immediately provide
a written acknowledgement of the request to the applicant.
(3)

If an information officer is able to provide an immediate response to an
applicant that is to the satisfaction of the applicant, the information officer shall make
the response.
8

Response to request
(1)

Subject to subsection (2), an information officer to whom a request is made
shall, as soon as is reasonably possible, but in any event within twenty-one days of the
date of the request—
(a)

determine whethe
r to grant the request; and
(

b)
notify the applicant of the decision whether to grant the request in wri
ting;

and
(c)

subject to subsection (7), if the request is granted, give the applica
nt
access to the information.
(2)

Where a request relates to information which reasonably appears to be
necessary to safeguard the life or liberty of a person, the responsible person or holder
of a statutory office shall, within forty-eight hours of the submission of the request—
(a)

determine whethe
r or not the request may be granted; and
(

b)
notify the applicant of the decision whether to grant the request in wri
ting;

and
(c)

if the request is granted, give the applicant
access to the information
within the same forty-eight-hour period.
(3)

If a request is granted, the notification referred to in subsection (1) or (2)
must specify—
(a)

the form in which
access to the information will be given; and
(

b)
the fees due, including any reproduction, translation or transcription f
ees,

if any, payable before the further processing of the request.
(4)

Subject to subsection (6), where an information officer notifies that a request
has been granted, an information officer shall—
(

a)
if any prescribed fee is payable, upon payment of the fee by the applica
nt;

or
(b)

if no fee is payab
le, immediately;
give access to the information to the applicant.
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(5) Any information provided to an applicant in terms of this Act shall be
presumed to be true and accurate in every respect and the applicant shall be entitled to
rely on and use it on that basis.
(6)
Subject to subsection (5) when an information officer produces an updated
or corrected version of any information previously provided, all other previous versions
of such information shall cease to be presumed true and accurate in ever
y respect.
(7)

Where the information requested contains third party information, the
applicant may not be given access to such information until any right of the third party
to appeal the release of the information has expired or until any appeal lodged by the
third party has been finally determined in terms of section 40.
(8)

Notwithstanding subsection (7), an information officer officer may, as soon
as possible, provide information to an applicant after having severed and redacted all
relevant third party information in accordance with section 14:
Provided that such third party information is immat

erial to the information
being requested.
(9)

If a request is refused, the notification referred to in subsection (1) or (2)
shall—
(

a)
state adequate reas
ons for the refusal, based on the contents and substance
of the request and the information considered by the information officer;
and
(

b)
contain
a reference to specific provisions of this Act upon which the
refusal is based; and
(c)

inform the
applicant of the right to appeal against the decision in terms
of section 35.
(10) If upon considering

a request for access to information that is the subject
of the request in terms of subsection (2), the responsible person or h
older of a statutory
office does not consider that the information requested reasonably appears to be
necessary to safeguard the life or liberty of a person, he or she shall, within forty-eight
hours of the submission of the request for access—
(a)

notify the applica
nt accordingly; and
(b)

inform
the applicant that he or she has the right to appeal the decision on
an urgent basis to the Commission in terms of section 36(5).
(1

1) Subject to subsection (1) where any part of the information requested can
be provided within the period specified under subsection (1), an information officer
shall respond as soon as possible with respect to the available informat
ion.
9

Extension of time
(1)

Subject to subsection (2), an information officer to whom a request is made
in terms of section 8(1) may, within the initial twenty-one days, seek the consent of the
applicant for an extension of time for a period not exceeding fourteen d
ays if—
(

a)
the request is for a lar
ge amount of information or requires a search through
a large amount of information and meeting the original time limit would
unduly interfere with the operations of the entity concerned; or
(

b)
consultations
that cannot reasonably be completed within twenty-one
days are necessary to comply with the request.
(2)

Where an applicant is of the view that the seeking of consent to extend time
by the principal officer is merely dilatory, or the information officer does not obtain
the consent of the applicant for the extension, the applicant or the information officer,
as the case may be, may lodge an appeal with the Commission in terms of section 35.
FREEDOM OF INFORMAT ION

9
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
10 Deemed refusal
If
an information officer fails to notify a decision on a request for access to
information—
(a)

within the period
specified in section 8(1); or
(b)

where
that period has been extended in accordance with section 9, within
the extended period;
the information officer shall be deemed to have refused the request
1

1
Deferme
nt of access
(1)

An information officer who receives a request may defer the provision of
access to the information if—
(a)

the information h
as been prepared for presentation to Parliament; or
(b)

the information
or part thereof constitutes a report that has been prepared
for the purpose of reporting to a public entity or to a public officer, but
only until the report has been presented or made available to that public
entity or public officer or upon the expiration of thirty days from the date
of the request, whichever is the sooner; or
(c)

the information is
sub judice.
(2)

If an information officer defers access to information in terms of subsection
(1), he or she must notify the applicant in writing of—
(a)

the deferral withi
n twenty-one days of the date of the request; and
(b)

the
reason for the deferral, including the provisions of this Act relied on;
and
(c)

the likely period
for which access is to be deferred; and
(d)

the
applicant’s right to make representations, within fourteen days of
receiving notice, to the information officer regarding why the information
is required before such presentation, in the case of a deferral by reason
of subsection (1)(a) or (b).
(3) If representations have been made in terms of subsection (2)(d)
, an

information officer shall, after due consideration of those representations, within
five days of the representations being made, grant the request for access if there are
reasonable grounds for believing that the applicant will suffer substantial prejudice if
access to the information is deferred for the period referred to in subs
ection (2)(c).
12

Information that cannot be found or does not e
xist
(1) If an information officer has—
(a)

taken all reasonab
le steps to find the information requested; and
(b)

concluded that th
e information—
(i)

cannot be fo
und; or
(ii)

does not exi
st;
the information officer shall, within twenty-one days of the receipt of the request,
notify the applicant in writing that the information cannot be found or does not exist.
(2)

If information is found after notification of the applicant in terms of sub-
section (1), the information officer must notify the applicant in writing within fourteen
days of the information being found and thereafter proceed in terms of s
ection 8.
13

Forms of access
(1)

Access to information must be given to an applicant in one or more of the
following forms—
FREEDOM OF INFORMAT ION

10
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
(a) through a reasona ble opportunity to inspect the information; or
(b)

by way of a copy of the information; or
(c)

in the case of information that is an article
or thing by means of which
sounds or visual images are capable of being reproduced, by making of
suitable arrangements for the person to hear, view, record or copy those
sounds or visual images; or
(d)

in the case of information
by which words are recorded in a manner in
which they are capable of being reproduced in the form of sound or in
which words are contained in the form of shorthand writing or in codified
form, by the provision of a written transcript; or
(e)

in the case of information
which is held on a computer, or in electronic or
machine-readable form, and from which the entity concerned is capable of
producing a printed copy of the information or part thereof, by supplying
such a copy; or
(f)

in the case of information
available or capable of being made available
in computer readable form, by supplying a copy in that form.
(2) Subject to subsection (4), where an applicant has requested acce
ss to

information in a particular form, access must be given in that form.
(3)

An applicant may amend their preferred form of access (on payment of
any reproduction, translation or transcription fees payable) if access has been granted
in the form initially requested.
(4) If giving access to information

in the form requested by an applicant is
likely to—
(a)

unreasonably inte
rfere with the operations of the entity concerned; or
(b)

be detrimental to
the preservation of the information; or
(c)

be inappropriate,
having regard to the physical nature of the information;
access in that form may be refused if access is given in another form au
thorised under
this Act.
(5)

Where a person requests access to information in a particular form and for
a reason specified in subsection (4), access in that form is refused but access is given
in another form, the reproduction fee charged may not exceed the fee that would have
been charged if the applicant had been given access in the form requested.
14
Severability
Where any information

is contained in a record or document with information
protected in terms of this Act, the protected information shall be severed from the
record or document and access to the remainder of the information shall
be granted to
the applicant.
15

Access t
o health or other records
(1)

If an information officer receives, in terms of this Part, a request for access
to information provided by a health practitioner in his or her capacity as such about the
physical or mental health, or well-being—
(a)

of an applicant; o
r
(b)

if the request has been made on behalf of a person to whom the record
relates, of that person;
and

the information officer is of the opinion that the disclosure of the information
might cause serious harm to the applicant’s or that person’s physical or mental health,
FREEDOM OF INFORMAT ION

11
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
or well-being, the information officer shall, before giving access to the record of the
information, consult with a health practitioner who, subject to subsection (2), has been
nominated by the applicant or the representative referred to in paragrap
h (b).
(2) If the person represented in terms of subsection (1)(b) is—

(
a)
under the age of eighteen years, a person having parental responsibiliti
es for

that person shall make the nomination contemplated in subsection (1);
or
(b)

incapable
of managing his or her own affairs, a person appointed by the
court to manage those affairs must make the nomination contemplated
in subsection (1).

(3) If, after

being given access to the record concerned, the health practitioner
consulted is of the opinion that the disclosure of the information to the persons concerned
is likely to cause serious harm to his or her physical or mental health, or well-being,
the information officer may only give access to the information if the applicant proves
to the satisfaction of the information officer that adequate provision has been made for
such counselling or arrangements as are reasonably practicable and necessary before,
during or after the disclosure of the information to limit, alleviate or
avoid any harm.
(4) Before access to the information

is so given in terms of this section, the
person responsible for the counselling or arrangements shall be given access to the
record.
16

Languag
e of access
(1)

Information must be provided to an applicant in such officially recognised
language as the applicant requests.
(2)

Where an entity does not hold the information in the requested language,
the entity concerned shall endeavour to translate it into the requested language and
may recover the reasonable costs of the translation from the applicant.
17
Fees
(1)

The applicant shall be notified of the fees due, if any, in terms of section
8(3)(b) for access to information before further processing of the request is carried out.
(2) If

the preparation of the information, including any arrangements provided
for in section 13 or section 16 would, in the opinion of the information officer of an
entity, require more than the time prescribed for this purpose in terms of subsection
(4), the information officer may notify the applicant in writing to pay as a deposit an
amount not more than one third of the access fee payable.

(3)

An applicant shall pay, in addition to the access fees prescribed in terms
of this section, an additional fee for any time reasonably required in excess of the
prescribed hours to search for and prepare the information requested.
(4) Fees prescribed in terms of this section may reasonably allow for—

(a)

the cost of making a copy of the information
in any form referred to in
section 13;
(b)

the time
reasonably required to search for information and preparation
of information;

(c)

the costs of translation where a request is made that information
released
be made available in a language other than a language in which it is alr
eady
held by the entity;
(d)

payment for the i
nspection of any records.
FREEDOM OF INFORMAT ION

12
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
(5) The Minister may, by notice in the Gazette—
(a)

exempt
any person or class of persons from paying any fee referred to in
this section;
(b)

determine
that any fee referred to in this section is not to exceed a certain
maximum amount;
(c)

determine
the manner in which any fee referred to in this section is to be
calculated;
(

d)
d
etermine that any fee referred to in this section does not apply to a
particular class of information or records.
18

Reports to Commission
Every

responsible person or holder of a statutory office must annually submit to
the Commission a report stating the number of—
(a)

requests for acces
s to information received;
(b)

requests for acces
s granted in full;
(c)

requests for access
refused in full or partially and the number of times
a specified provision of this Act was relied on to refuse access in full or
partially;
(d)

cases in which the periods stipulated
in section 8(1) were extended in
terms of section 9;
(

e)
the number of times that a request for access was regarded as having bee
n

refused in terms of section 10;
(f)

such other matter
s as may be prescribed.
19

Entities may grant greater access to information
Nothing in this

Act shall be construed as preventing or discouraging any entity
from publishing or giving access to information, including information exempt from
disclosure in terms of this Act, where they can properly do so or are required by law
to do so.
PART IV
G
rounds for Refusal of Access to Information
20

Refusal of access
An entity may refuse to grant access to information only if the informat
ion falls
within an exemption provided for in this Part.
21

Protection of personal information of a third party who is a natural
person
(1)

Subject to subsection (2), an information officer shall refuse a request for
information if the release of the information would involve the disclosure of personal
and confidential information about a third party who is a natural person, including a
deceased person.
(2)

A request may not be refused in terms of subsection (1) where—

(

a)
t

he third party does not make any representations in terms of section 34(1)
stating why access to the information should not be granted; or

(b)

the third party co

nsents to the disclosure; or

(c)

the third party ha

s been deceased for more than ten years; or

FREEDOM OF INFORMAT ION

13
(d) the information is already publicly available; or

(e)

the information
relates to the physical or mental health or wellbeing of a
person who is under the care of the applicant and who is—

(i)

under the ag
e of eighteen years; or

(ii)

incapable of
understanding the nature of the request;

and giving access
would be in the best interests of the individual;

or

(f)

the information is
about a deceased person and the applicant is—

(i)

the next of k
in or legal representative of the deceased person; or

(

ii)
making
the request with the written consent of the deceased person’s
next of kin or legal representative; or

(iii)

the executor
of the estate of the deceased person; or

(

iv)
the
trustee of a trust which can benefit from the estate of the deceased
person;

or
(g)

the
information relates to the position or functions of a person who is or
was an officer of a public entity, including but not limited to—

(

i)
t
he title, work address, work phone number and other similar
particulars of the officer; and

(ii)

the
classification, salary scale or remuneration and responsibilities
of the position held or services performed by the officer; and

(iii)

the
name of the individual on a record prepared by the officer in the
course of employment;

or
(h)

the information
was given to an entity by the person to whom it relates
and the person was informed by or on behalf of the entity, before it was
given, that the information belongs to a class of information that would
or might be made available to the public.
22
Pro

tection of commercial information of third party and private entity
(1)

Subject to subsection (3), the information officer of an entity shall refuse
a request for access to information of the entity if the information con
tains—
(a)

trade secrets of a
third party;
(

b)
fina
ncial, commercial, scientific or technical information that is proprietary
to a third party, and the disclosure of which would be likely to cause harm
to the commercial or financial interests of that third party; or
(

c)
information
supplied in confidence by a third party the disclosure of which
could reasonably be expected—
(

i)
to put that third party at a disadvantage in contractual or other

negotiations; or
(ii)

to prejudice
that third party in commercial competition.
(2)

Subject to subsection (3), the information officer of a private entity shall
refuse a request for access to the information of the private entity whi
ch contains—
(a)

trade secrets of th
at private entity;
(

b)
fina
ncial, commercial, scientific or technical information that is proprietary
to that private entity, the disclosure of which would be likely to cause
harm to the commercial or financial interests of that private entity; or
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
FREEDOM OF INFORMAT ION

14
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
( c) information supplied in confidence by a third party the disclosure of which
could reasonably be expected—
(

i)
to put that third party at a disadvantage in contractual or other

negotiations; or
(ii)

to prejudice
that third party in commercial competition.
(3)

The information officer shall not refuse to provide information in terms of
subsection (1) or (2) if that information consists of information—
(a)

already publicly a
vailable; or
(

b)
about a third party who has consented in terms of section 33(2) or oth
erwise

in writing to its disclosure to the applicant concerned; or
(c)

the disclosure of which would facilitate
accountability and transparency
of decisions taken by an entity, other than preliminary results of any tests,
research, preparations or other investigations conducted for the purpose

of developing any policy; or
(d)

which relates to t
he expenditure of public funds; or
(e)

the disclosure of
which would reveal misconduct or deception.
23 Protection
of certain other confidential information of third party

(1) Subject to subsection (2), an information officer—
(

a)
s
hall refuse a request for access to information of the entity if the disclosure
of the information would constitute a breach of a duty of confidence owed
to a third party in terms of any agreement; or
(

b)
may refuse a request for access to information of the entity if the

information consists of information that was supplied in confidence by a
third party and the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to
prejudice the future supply of similar information or information from
the same source.
(2) Information may not be refused in terms of subsection (1) to the
extent that
it consists of information—
(a)

already publicly a
vailable; or
(

b)
about a third party who has consented in terms of section 33(2) or oth
erwise

in writing to its disclosure to the applicant concerned.

24

Protection of safety of individuals and property
(1)

An information officer of an entity shall refuse a request for access to any
information of the entity if the disclosure could reasonably be expected to endanger
the life or physical safety of an individual.

(2)

An information officer of an entity may refuse a request for access to
information of the entity if its disclosure would be likely to prejudice
or impair—
(a)

the security of an
y property whatsoever; or
(

b)
the methods, systems, plans or procedures for the protection any propert
y

whatsoever;
(c)

the safety of the p
ublic or any section of the public.
25

Protection
of information in bail proceedings, law enforcement and
other legal proceedings
(1)

An information officer of a public entity, public commercial entity or holder
of a statutory office—
FREEDOM OF INFORMAT ION

15
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
( a) shall refuse a request for access to information if access to that infor
mation
is prohibited in terms of section 117A(10) of the Criminal Procedure and
Evidence Act [Chapter 9:07]; or
(b)

may refuse a requ
est for access to information if—
(i)

the
record contains methods, techniques, procedures or guidelines
for—
A

.
the prevention, detection, curtailment or investigation of a

contravention or possible contravention of the law; or
B.

the prosecution of alleged of
fenders;
and the disclosure of those methods, techniques, procedures

or guidelines could reasonably be expected to prejudice the
effectiveness of those methods, techniques, procedures or guidelines
or lead to the circumvention of the law or facilitate the commission
of an offence; or
(ii)

the prosecution of an alleged
offender is being prepared or about to
commence or pending and the disclosure of the information could
reasonably be expected—
A.

to impede that prosecution; or
B.

to result in a miscarriage of justice in that prosecution;

or
(

iii)
the dis
closure of the information could reasonably be expected to—
A

.
prejudice the investigation of a contravention or possible

contravention of the law which is about to commence or is
in progress or, if the investigation has been suspended or
terminated, is likely to be resumed; or
B

.
reveal, or enable a person to ascertain, the identity of

a confidential source of information in relation to the
enforcement or administration of the law; or
C

.
result in the interference, intimidation or coercion of a witness,

or a person who might be or has been called as a witness, in
criminal proceedings or other proceedings to enforce the law;
or
D

.
f
acilitate the commission of a contravention of the law,
including, but not limited to, and subject to subsection (2),
escape from lawful detention; or
E.

prejudice or impair the fairness of a trial or the impartiality
of
an adjudication.
(2)

Information may not be refused in terms of subsection (1)(b)(iii)(D) insofar
as it consists of information about the general conditions of detention of persons in
custody.
26

Protection of legally privileged information
An

information officer of any entity shall refuse a request for access to information
if the information is privileged in terms of laws of Zimbabwe unless the patient, client,
source or person entitled to the privilege consents to the release or has waived the
privilege.
FREEDOM OF INFORMAT ION

16
27 Protection of defence, security and internationa l relations of State
(1)

An information officer may refuse a request for access to information of
an entity if the disclosure of the information—
(a)

is likely to cause
prejudice to—
(i)

the defence
or security of the State;
(ii)

subject
to subsection (3), the international relations of the State; or
(b)

would disclose in
formation—
(

i)
supplied
in confidence by or on behalf of another State or an
international organisation; or
(

ii)
su
pplied by or on behalf of the State to another state or an international
organisation in terms of an arrangement or international agreement
with that state or organisation which requires the information to be
held in confidence; or
(iii)

required
to be held in confidence by an international agreement or
in accordance with customary international law.
(2)

Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), information referred to
in that subsection shall include information—
(a)

relating
to military tactics or strategy or military exercises or operations
undertaken in preparation for hostilities or in connection with the
detection, prevention, suppression or curtailment of subversive or hostile
activities;
(

b)
relating to the quantity
, characteristics, capabilities, vulnerabilities or
deployment of—
(i)

weapons or any other equipment
used for the detection, prevention,
suppression or curtailment of subversive or hostile activities; or
(ii)

anything
being designed, developed, produced or considered for
use as weapons or such other equipment;
(c)

relating
to the characteristics, capabilities, vulnerabilities, performance,
potential, deployment or functions of—
(i)

any military
force, unit or personnel; or
(

ii)
any body or person responsible for the detection, prevention,

suppression or curtailment of subversive or hostile activities;
(d)

held for the purpo
se of intelligence relating to—
(i)

the defence
of the State; or
(ii)

the
detection, prevention, suppression or curtailment of subversive
or hostile activities; or
(iii)

another
state or an international organisation used by or on behalf
of the State in the process of deliberation and consultation in the
conduct of international affairs;
(

e)
on
methods of, and scientific or technical equipment for, collecting,
assessing or handling information referred to in paragraph (d);
(f)

on
the identity of a confidential source or any other source of information
referred to in paragraph (d);
(g)

on
the positions adopted or to be adopted by the State, any other state or
an international organisation for the purpose of present or future inter –
national negotiations; or
(h)

that
constitutes diplomatic correspondence exchanged with another state
or an international organisation or official correspondence exchanged with
diplomatic missions or consular posts of the State.
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
FREEDOM OF INFORMAT ION

17
(3) A record may not be refused in terms of subsection (1)(a)(ii) if it came into
existence more than twenty years before the request.

(4) If—
(a)

a request
for access to information may be refused in terms of subsection
(1), or could, if it existed, be so refused, and the disclosure of the
existence
or non-existence of the information would be likely to cause the harm
contemplated in any provision of subsection (1), the information officer
concerned may refuse to confirm or deny the existence or non-existence
of the information; and
(b)

if
the information officer so refuses to confirm or deny the existence or
non-existence of the information, a notice to the applicant shall—
(i)

state that fac
t; and
(ii)

identify
the provision of subsection (1) in terms of which access
would have been refused if the information had existed; and
(iii)

give adequate
reasons for the refusal to the extent that they can be
given without causing the harm contemplated in subsection (1); and
(iv)

state
that the applicant may appeal against the decision in terms of
section 36.

28 Protection

of

economic

interests

and

financial

welfare

of

State

and

commercial interests of public entities
(1)

An information officer of a public entity may refuse a request for access
to information of the entity if its disclosure would be likely to materially jeopardise
the national economic interests or financial welfare or the ability of the government to
manage the national economy effectively in the national best interest.
(2)

Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), the information referred
to in subsection (1) shall include information on—
(

a)
a contemplated change in, or maintenance of, a policy substantially

affecting the currency, coinage, legal tender, exchange rates or foreign
investment;
(b)

a contemplated ch
ange in or decision not to change—
(i)

credit or int
erest rates; or
(ii)

customs or excise duties, taxes or any other source of revenue; or
(iii)

the regulatio
n or supervision of financial institutions; or
(iv)

government
borrowing; or
(

v)
the regulation of prices of goods or services, rents or wages, salaries

or other incomes; or
(c)

a contemplated—
(i)

sale or acqu
isition of immovable or movable property; or
(ii)

internationa
l trade agreement.

(3)

Subject to subsection (5), an information officer may refuse a request for
access to information if the information—
(a)

contains trade sec
rets of the State or a public entity;
(b)

contains
financial, commercial, scientific or technical information, other
than trade secrets, the disclosure of which would be likely to cause harm
to the commercial or financial interests of the State or a public entity;
(

c)
contains information the disclosure of which could reasonably be

expected—
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
FREEDOM OF INFORMAT ION

18
( i) to put a public entity at a disadvantage in contractual or other
negotiations: or
(ii)

to prejudice
a public entity in commercial competition; or
(d)

is a
computer programme owned by the State or a public entity, except
insofar as it is required to give access to information to which access is
permitted in terms of this Act.
(4)

The information referred to in subsection (2)(c)(i) shall, without limiting
the generality of that provision, include information in connection with an agreement
or contemplated agreement to transfer any interest in or right to shares in the capital
of a public entity to any person not being a public entity.
(5)

Access to information may not be refused in terms of subsection (3) to the
extent that it consists of information—
(a)

already publicly a
vailable; or
(b)

about or owned by an entity
, other than the entity to which the request is
made, which has consented in writing to its disclosure to the applicant
concerned; or
(c)

the disclosure of which would facilitate
accountability and transparency
of decisions taken by the State or an entity, other than preliminary results
of any tests, research, preparations or other investigations conducted for
the purpose of developing any policy.
(6) If a request

for access to information contemplated in subsection (5)(c) is
granted and any testing or other investigation relevant to that information was carried
out by or on behalf of the public entity from which the information is requested, the
information officer must at the same time as access to the information is given, provide
the applicant with a written explanation of the methods used in conducting the testing
or other investigation.

29

Protection of research information of third part
y or entity

(1)

An information officer may refuse a request for access to information of
the entity if the information relates to any research being or to be carried out by or on
behalf of a third party, the disclosure of which would be likely to expose—
(a)

the third party; or
(b)

the researcher; or
(c)

the subject matter
of the research;
to serious disadvantage.

(2)

An information officer may refuse a request for access to information of
the entity if the information relates to a research being or to be carried out by or on
behalf of an entity the disclosure of which would be likely to expose—
(a)

the entity; or
(b)

the researcher; or

(c)

the subject matter
of the research;
to serious disadvantage.
30

Operations of public entities
(1)

Subject to subsections (3) and (4), an information officer of a public entity,
public commercial entity or holder of a statutory office may refuse a request for access
to information—
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(a) if the information contains an opinion, advice, report or recommendation
obtained or prepared, or an account of a consultation, discussion or
deliberation that has occurred (including, but not limited to, minutes of
a meeting)—

(i)

for the purpose of assisting to formulate a policy; or

(ii)

to take
a decision in the exercise of a power or performance of a
duty; or

(

b)
i
f the disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to
frustrate the deliberative process in the public entity, public commercial
entity or statutory office by inhibiting the candid—

(i)

communica
tion of an opinion, advice, report or recommendation;
or

(ii)

conduct of a
consultation, discussion or deliberation.

(c)

if the disclosure of the information
could, by premature disclosure of a
policy or contemplated policy, reasonably be expected to frustrate the
success of that policy.
(2)

Subject to subsection (4), an information officer of a public entity, public
commercial entity or holder of a statutory office may refuse a request for access to
information of the entity concerned if—

(

a)
the dis
closure of the information could reasonably be expected to
jeopardise the effectiveness of a testing, examining or auditing procedure
or method used by the public entity; or

(b)

the information
contains evaluative material, whether or not the person
who supplied it is identified, and the disclosure of the material would
breach an express or implied undertaking which was—

(i)

made to the
person who supplied the material; and

(

ii)
to the ef
fect that the material or the identity of the person who
supplied it, or both, would be held in confidence;

or

(

c)
the
information contains a preliminary, working or other draft of an official
of a public entity.
(3)

Access to information may not be refused in terms of subsection (1) if the
information came into existence more than twenty years before the request concerned.

(4)

Access to information may not be refused in terms of subsection (1) or (2)
insofar as it consists of an account of, or a statement of reasons required to be given
in accordance with the Administrative Justice Act [Chapter 10:28].
31
Manifestly frivolous or vexatious requests, or requests involving

substantial and unreasonable diversion of resources
(1)

An information officer of an entity may refuse a request for access to
information if—

(a)

the request is man
ifestly frivolous or vexatious; or

(

b)
t
he work involved in processing the request would substantially and
unreasonably divert the resources of the entity.

(2)

The information officer shall notify the applicant accordingly, giving reasons
why the request is considered to fall within either of the descriptions refe
rred to in
subsection (1).
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20
PA RT V
notification and intervention of third Parties

32

Notice to third parties

(1)

An information officer of an entity considering a request for access to
information containing information of any third party which may be protected in terms
of Part IV must take all reasonable steps to notify the third party concerned in w
riting
of the request.
(2)

The information officer must notify a third party in terms of subsection
(1)—
(a)

as soon as reasonably possible, but in any event,
within seven days of the
receipt of the request or the transfer of the request to another entity; and

(b)

by the fastest mea

ns reasonably possible.
(3)

When informing a third party in terms of subsection (1), the informati
on
officer must—

(a)

state

that the information officer is considering a request for information
which may include information relating to the third party and describe
the content of the information; and

(b)

furnish the name

of the applicant; and

(c)

describe

the protection granted in terms of this Act with respect to the
information concerned; and

(

d)
st

ate that the third party may, within seven days of the date of the
notification—

(

i)
make

written representations to the information officer why the
request for access should be refused; or

(ii)

give

written consent for the disclosure of the information to the
applicant.

33

Represe

ntations or consent by third party

(1)

A third party notified in terms of section 32(1) of a request for access may,
within seven days of the date of the notification—

(a)

m

ake written representations to the information officer concerned stating
why the request should be refused; or

(b)

give

written consent for the disclosure of the information to the applicant
concerned.
(2)

A third party that becomes aware of a request for access otherwise than i
n
terms of section 32(1) may—

(a)

make

written representations to the information officer concerned why
the request should be refused; or

(b)

give written cons

ent for the disclosure of the information concerned.
34

Decision on representations for refusal and not
ice thereof
(1)

An information officer shall, as soon as reasonably possible, but in any event
within seven days of any third party being notified as provided for in section 32—

(a)

make

a decision, after giving due regard to any representations made by
a third party in terms of section 33, whether or not to grant the reques
t
for access; and
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21
(b) notify the third pa rty concerned of the decision.
(2) If, after all reasonable

steps have been taken as required by section 32(1),
a third party is not notified or is not aware of a request, any decision whether or not
to grant the request for access must be made with due regard to the fact that the third
party did not have the opportunity to make representations as to why the
request should
be refused.
(3)

If a request for access is granted, the notification in terms of subsection (1)
(b) must state—

(a)

adequate
reasons for the grant of the request, including the provisions of
this Act relied upon; and

(

b)
that
the third party may lodge an appeal in terms of Part VI or an application
to court against the decision within seven days of the date of notification
of the decision, and the procedure for lodging the appeal; and

(c)

that the applicant
will be given access to the record after the expiry of
the period referred to in paragraph (b) unless an appeal or applicatio
n is
lodged within that period.
(4)

If an information officer decides to grant a request for access, the information
officer shall give the applicant access to the information concerned after the expiry of
seven days of the date of the notice referred to in subsection (1)(b) unless an appeal or
an application to court is lodged against the decision within that perio
d.
PART VI
aPPeals to commission
35 Right to appeal
(1)

An applicant may lodge an appeal to the Commission against any decision
of an information officer in terms of this Act.

(2)

A third party may lodge an appeal to the Commission against a decision
of the information officer to grant a request for access to information concerning that
third party’s information.

36

Procedure on appeal
(1)

An appeal shall—

(a)

be
lodged in the prescribed form and within thirty days of the date of
notification of the decision appealed against; and

(b)

be delivered or se
nt to the Commission; and

(c)

identify
the subject of the appeal and state the reasons for the appeal and
may include any other relevant information known to the appellant; and

(d)

if, in addition to a written response, the appellant
wishes to be informed
of the decision on the appeal in any other manner, provide the necessary
details to that effect; and

(e)

if applicable,
be accompanied by the prescribed fee referred to in sub-
section (3); and

(f)

specify the appell
ant’s address and phone number.

(2) If—

(a)

an appeal
is lodged after the expiry of the period referred to in subsection
(1), the Secretary of the Commission may, on good cause shown, allow
the late lodging of the appeal; or
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(b) the Secretary of the Commission disallows the late lodging of the appeal,
the Secretary shall give notice of that decision to the appellant.

(3)

An appeal against the refusal of a request for access to information shall
be accompanied by the prescribed fee, if any and if a fee is payable, the decision on
the appeal may be deferred until such fee is paid.

(4)

As soon as reasonably possible, but in any event within ten working days
of
the date of the lodging of an appeal, an information officer shall submit to the Secretary
of the Commission the application for access to information together with the officer’s
reasons for refusing access.

(5)

The Commission shall prescribe expedited procedures for the hearing of
appeals made in the circumstances referred to in section 8(10).

37

Notice to and representations by third parties
(1)

If the Secretary is considering an appeal against the refusal of a request for
access to information which affects any third party, the Secretary shall notify any such
third party concerned of the appeal unless all necessary steps to locate
the third party
have been unsuccessful.

(2)

The Secretary shall notify a third party in terms of subsection (1)—

(a)

as soon as reasonably
possible, but in any event within ten working days
of the date of the lodging of the appeal; and

(b)

by the fastest mea
ns reasonably possible.
(3)

When notifying a third party in terms of this section, the Secretary shall—

(

a)
st
ate that he or she is considering an appeal against the refusal of a request
for access to information which affects the third party, describe the content
of the record and nature of the information and the provisions of this Act
relevant to the information concerned; and

(b)

furnish the name
of the appellant; and

(

c)
in
any case where the principal officer of an entity believes that the
provisions of section 32 may apply, describe those provisions and state
the reasons why he or she is of the opinion that the section may apply;
and

(d)

state that the third party may
, within ten working days of the date of the
notification of the third party, make written representations to the Secretary
as to why the request for access should not be granted.
(4)

A third party that is notified of an appeal in terms of subsection (1) may,
within ten working days of the date of the notification, make written representations
to the Secretary as to why the request for access should not be granted.

(5)

A third party that becomes aware of an appeal otherwise than in terms of
subsection (1) may—

(

a)
make written or oral representations to the Secretary as to why the requ
est

for access should be refused; or

(b)

give
written consent for the disclosure of the information to the applicant
concerned.
(6) If the Secretary is considering an appeal against the granting of
a request
for acce

ss to information, he or she shall give notice of the appeal to the applicant
concerned.

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38 Decision on appeal and notification thereof

(1)

The decision on an appeal must be made with due regard to—
(a)

the particulars sta
ted in the appeal; and

(

b)
a
ny reasons submitted by the information officer for the decision appealed
against;

(c)

any representatio
ns made by an applicant or a third party in terms of
section 32; and

(d)

if a third party cannot be located, the fact that the third party did no
t have
the

opportunity to make representations as to why the appeal should be
dismissed.
(2)

When deciding on the appeal, the Commission may confirm the decision
appealed against or substitute a new decision for it.
(3)

The Commission shall decide the appeal—

(a)

as soon as reasonably
possible, but in any event within thirty days of the
date of the lodging of the appeal;

(

b)
if notice is given to an applicant in terms of section 37(6), within

five working days after the applicant concerned has made written
representations in terms of section 38(7).
(4)

The Commission shall, immediately after the decision on an appeal, give
notice of the decision to every interested party in the matter.

(5)

The notice in terms of subsection (4) shall—

(a)

state adequately
, the reasons for the decision, including the provision of
this Act relied upon; and

(b)

state that the applicant
or the third party may appeal to the High Court
against the decision on appeal within thirty days of the date of the dec
ision
and the procedure for lodging the appeal; and

(

d)
if
the Commission decides on an appeal to grant a request for access, state
that access shall be granted after the expiry of thirty days of the date of
the notice if no appeal is lodged against such decision within that period.

(6) If the Commission fails to give notice

of the decision on an appeal to the
appellant in the period contemplated in subsection (3), it shall be deemed to have
determined the appeal in favour of the appellant.
PART VIIG
eneral
39 Liability
No crimin
al or civil liability shall attach to any person with respect to anything
done or omitted to be done in good faith and without gross negligence in the exercise
or performance or purported exercise or performance of any function in terms of this
Act.

40
Regulations

(1)

The Commission, after consultation with the Minister, may make regulations
providing for all matters which by this Act are required or permitted to be prescribed
or which, in the Commission’s opinion, are necessary or convenient to be prescribed
in order to carry out or give effect to this Act.
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24
(2) Regulations may provide for—

(a)

any
matter relating to the levy of fees contemplated in terms of this Act;

(b)

the form of any n
otice required by this Act;
(

c)
uniform
criteria to be applied by the information officer of an entity when
deciding which information is to be made available;

(

d)
the standards to be observed by e
mployees of public entities when
responding to requests for information;

(

e)
the procedures and code of ethics to be followed when disclosing

information;

(f)

persons, or
ganisations or institutions exempted from the provisions of
this Act;

(g)

any administrativ
e or procedural matter necessary to give effect to the
provisions of this Act.
(3) Regulations made in terms of subsection (1) may provide for pena
lties for
contraventions thereof:
Provided

that no such penalty shall exceed a fine of level six or imprisonment
for a period not exceeding one year or both such fine and such imprisonment.
41

Repeal of Cap. 10:27 and savings
(1) Subject to subsection (2)

The Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act [Chapter 10:27] is repealed.
(2)

All statutory instruments or made under the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act [Chapter 10:27] shall remain in force as if they had been
made under the appropriate provision of this Act and may be amended, replaced or
repealed accordingly.
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