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Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill
November 30, 2001

Contents

PART II

Access to Information

5. Right to information.
6. Request for record.
7. Fees for services by a public body.
8. Duty to assist applicants.
9. Contents of response.
10. Access to information.
11. Extension of time limit for responding.
12. Transfer of a request.
13. Delegation by the head of a public body.
14. Protection of public body from legal suit.

 

5   Right to information   TOP

(1) Subject to section 10, every person shall have a right of access to any record. including a record containing personal information, that is in the custody or under the control of a public body:

Provided that such access shall not extend to information exempt from disclosure in terms of this Act.

(2) Where information can be extracted from a record that contains exempt information, an applicant may have access to the part of the record that is not exempt.

(3) The right of access to a record shall be subject to the payment of a prescribed fee.

(4) Nothing contained in this Act shall confer any rights to information or to a record to—

(a) a person who is not a citizen or permanent resident of Zimbabwe;

(b) a body corporate, including a partnership, universitas or trust, whose entire control and membership is not comprised of a majority of Zimbabwean citizens other than a foreign company registered or incorporated in Zimbabwe;

(c) any mass media service which is not registered in terms of this Act, or to a broadcaster who is not registered in terms of the Broadcasting Services Act [Chapter 12:06]; and

(d) any foreign state or agency thereof.

 

6   Request for record   TOP

An applicant who requires access to a record that is in the custody or control of a public body shall make a request, in writing, to the public body, giving adequate and precise details to enable the public body to locate the information so requested.

 

7   Fees for services by a public body   TOP

(1) An applicant shall pay the prescribed fee for any service rendered by a public body.

(2) The head of a public body may excuse an applicant from paying all or part of the fee if, on good cause shown by the applicant, the applicant cannot afford to pay the fee, is excused, by law, from paying a fee or the record relates to a matter of public interest.

 

8   Duty to assist applicants   TOP

(1) The head of a public body shall take every reasonable step to assist an applicant requesting for a record and shall respond as soon as is reasonably possible in the circumstances, but not later than 30 days, to each request:

Provided that the head of a public body may delay to respond where an extension has been granted or where the request has been transferred to another public body.

(2) Where necessary, the head of a public body shall create a record for an applicant if—

(a) the record can be created from a machine readable record in the custody or under the control of the public body using its normal computer hardware and software and technical expertise; and

(b) creating the record would not unreasonably interfere with the operations of the public body.

 

9   Contents of response   TOP

(1) A response by the head of a public body to a request made in terms of section 6 shall inform the applicant—

(a) whether or not he is entitled to access to the record or a part of the record; and

(b) the place where, time when and manner in which such access will be given;

(2) Where the head of a public body refuses access to a record or part of a record, he shall inform the applicant of the reasons therefor.

(3) An applicant whose request for a record or part of a record has been refused by the head of a public body may request the Commission to review the public body’s decision.

(4) The head of a public body may refuse a request for a record or part of a record if granting access to such a record—

(a) contravenes this Act;

(b) results in the disclosure of personal information pertaining to a third party that would result in an invasion of that person’s privacy;

(c) is in the public interest.

 

10   Access to information   TOP

(1) Where an applicant is granted access to a record or part of a record, the head of a public body shall—

(a) give him the opportunity to examine such record or part thereof; or

(b) where the applicant has requested for a copy of a record or part of the record, provide him with such copy if it can be reproduced, and where it cannot be reproduced, give the applicant an opportunity to examine such record Or part thereof;

(2) Where the head of a public body delays in responding to an applicant’s request for a record or part of a record, he shall give the applicant the reasons for such delay.

(3) An applicant shall provide adequate details so as to enable the public body to locate the information sought.

 

11   Extension of time limit for responding   TOP

(1) The head of a public body may extend the time for responding to a request to a maximum of 30 days or, with the Commission’s permission, for a longer period if—

(a) the applicant does not give sufficient detail to enable the public body to identify the requested record;

(b) a large number of records is requested or is to be searched, and meeting the time limit would unreasonably interfere with the operations of the public body; or

(c) more time is needed to consult with a third party or other public body before the head can decide whether or not to give the applicant access to the requested record.

(2) Where the time is extended in terms of subsection (1), the head of the public body shall inform the applicant of—

(a) the reason for such extension; and

(b) when he should expect a response.

 

12   Transfer of a request   TOP

(1) The head of a public body may, within 10 days after a request for access to a record is received, transfer the request and or the record to another public body if it appears to him that the record is in the custody or under the control of the other public body or has implications for another body.

(2) Where a request or a record is transferred in terms of subsection (1) the head of the public body which effected such transfer shall notify the applicant of such transfer.

(3) The head of the public body to whom the transfer was effected shall respond to the applicant’s request not later than 30 days after receiving the request, unless the time limit has been extended in terms of section 10.

 

13   Delegation by the head of a public body   TOP

(1) The head of a public body may delegate to any person any duty, power or function of the head of the public body under this Act, except the power to delegate under this section.

(2) A delegation made in terms of subsection (1) shall be in writing and may contain any conditions or restrictions the head of the public body considers appropriate.

 

14   Protection of public body from legal suit   TOP

No action shall lie and no proceeding may be brought against the government, a public body, the head of a public body, an elected official of a public body or any person acting on behalf of or under the direction of the head of a public body for damages resulting from—

(a) the disclosure or non-disclosure, in good faith, of all or part of a record; or

(b) consequences arising from disclosure or non-disclosure.

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