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

Contents

PART III

Protected Information

15. Protection of deliberations of Cabinet and local public bodies.
16. Protection of advice relating to policy.
17. Protection of information subject to client-attorney privilege.
18. Protection of information whose disclosure will be harmful to the law enforcement process and national security.
19. Protection of information relating to inter-governmental relations or negotiations.
20. Protection of information relating to the financial or economic interests of a public body, the government or the country.
21. Protection of research information.
22. Protection of information relating to conservation of heritage sites.
23. Protection of information relating to personal or public safety.
24. Protection of information available to the public.
25. Protection of information relating to business interests of a third party.
26. Protection of information relating to personal privacy.

 

15   Protection of deliberations of Cabinet and local public bodies   TOP

(1) No information relating to the deliberations of Cabinet or any of its committees shall be revealed or disclosed to any person who is not authorised to have access to such information.

(2) The information referred to in subsection (1) shall include—

(a) any advice, policy considerations and recommendations made to Cabinet; and

(b) any draft legislation or regulations prepared for submission or submitted to Cabinet.

(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply to information contained in a record that has been in existence for 25 or more years.

(3) No information relating to the holding of a meeting of a governing body or a Committee in camera, where a public body is authorised in terms of this or other Act, shall be revealed or disclosed to any person who is not authorised to have access to such information.

(4) Subsection (3) shall not apply to circumstances where the deliberations, resolution or draft resolution was made or considered in the presence of members of the public.

 

16   Protection of advice relating to policy   TOP

(1) The head of a public body may not disclose to an applicant information relating to advice or recommendations given to the President, Cabinet Minister or to a public body.

(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply to the following classes of information—

(a) a public opinion poll;

(b) a statistical survey;

(c) an appraisal of an employee of the public body;

(d) a forecast of the economy;

(e) information relating to the state of the environment;

(f) an audit or performance report of a public body;

(g) a consumer test report or a report of a test carried out on a product to test equipment of the public body;

(h) a feasibility or technical study, including a cost estimate, relating to a policy or project of the public body;

(i) a report on the results of a field research undertaken before a policy proposal is formulated;

(j) a report of a committee, council or similar body that has been established to consider any matter and make reports or recommendations to a public body;

(k) a plan or proposal to establish a new programme or to change a programme, where the original plan or proposal had been approved or rejected by the head of the public body;

(l) information that the head of the public body has cited publicly as the basis for making a decision or formulating a policy;

(m) a decision, including the reasons thereof, that is made in the exercise of a discretionary power or an adjudicative function that affects the rights of the applicant; or

(n) information contained in a record that has been in existence for 10 or more years.

 

17   Protection of information subject to client-attorney privilege   TOP

The head of a public body shall not disclose to an applicant information that is subject to client-attorney privilege.

 

18   Protection of information whose disclosure will be harmful to the law enforcement process and national security   TOP

(1) The head of a public body shall not disclose to an applicant information whose disclosure would—

(a) affect the law enforcement process; or

(b) prejudice the defence and national security of the country and the safety or interests of the country by disclosing information protected from disclosure under the Official Secrets Act [Chapter 11:09]; or

(c) prejudice the defence and national security of a foreign country with which Zimbabwe has entered into a defence pact; or

(d) prevent the detection, prevention or suppression of espionage, sabotage or terrorism; or

(e) affect the effectiveness of investigation techniques and procedures used by the law enforcement agencies; or

(f) reveal the identity of a confidential source of law enforcement information; or

(g) reveal information relating to criminal intelligence that has a reasonable connection with the detection, prevention or suppression of organised criminal activities; or

(h) endanger the life or physical safety of a law enforcement officer or any other person; or

(i) reveal any information relating to or used in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion; or

(j) deprive a person of the right to a fair or impartial trial; or

(k) reveal information contained in a record that has been confiscated from a person by a peace officer in terms of the law; or

(l) facilitate the escape from custody of a person who is under lawful detention; or

(m) facilitate the commission of an offence in contravention of the law of Zimbabwe; or

(n) harm the security of any property or system, including a building, a vehicle, a computer system or a communications system; or

(o) prejudice the operations of the defence and security forces within or outside Zimbabwe; or

(p) result in the contravention of an Act of Parliament; or

(q) result in exposing a person to civil liability for disclosing personal information contained in a law enforcement record; or

(r) affect the custody, supervision or release of a person in custody.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), the head of a public body may disclose—

(a) the contents of a report prepared in the course of routine inspections by an agency that is authorised to enforce compliance with an Act;

(b) the contents of a report, including statistical analysis, on the degree of success achieved in a law enforcement programme; or

(c) statistical information on decisions made by the Attorney-General on the prosecution of offences:

Provided that the disclosure of such information will not contravene the prohibitions set out in subsection (1).

(3) The head of a public body may disclose, after the completion of an investigation by the police, the reasons for a decision not to prosecute to—

(a) a person who was aware and had an interest in the investigation, including a victim, relative, friend of a victim or a complainant; or

(b) any member of the public, where the investigation had been made public.

 

19   Protection of information relating to inter-governmental relations or negotiations  TOP

(1) The head of a public body may, on the advice of the Minister responsible for local government or the Minister responsible for foreign affairs as the case may be, refuse to disclose information to an applicant if such disclosure may—

(a) affect the relations between the government and—

(i) a municipal or rural district council; or

(ii) the government of a foreign state; or

(iii) an international organisation of states;

(b) divulge information received in confidence from a government, council or organisation referred to in paragraph (a).

(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply to information other than law enforcement information contained in a record that has existed for 20 or more years.

 

20   Protection of information relating to the financial or economic interests of a public body, the government or the country   TOP

(1) The head of a public body may refuse to disclose to an applicant information which may result in harm to the planning, financial or economic interests of the public body, the government and the country.

(2) The information referred to in subsection (1) shall include—

(a) trade secrets of a public body or the government; or

(b) financial, commercial, scientific or technical information that belongs to a public body or to the government and has monetary value; or

(c) plans that relate to the management of personnel of or the administration of a public body or the government and that have not yet been implemented or made public; or

(d) information whose disclosure may result in the premature disclosure of a proposal or project or in undue financial loss or gain to a third party;

(e) information relating to negotiations made by or for a public body or the government.

(3) Subsection (1) shall not apply to the results of product or environment testing carried out by or for a public body, unless the testing was done—

(a) as a service to a person, group of persons or organisation who paid a fee for such service; or

(b) for the purpose of developing methods of testing.

 

21   Protection of research information  TOP

The head of a public body shall not disclose research information if such disclosure will result in the loss by the researcher of the right to first publish the results of such research or any intellectual property rights.

 

22   Protection of information relating to conservation of heritage sites   TOP

(1) The head of a public body may refuse to disclose information to an applicant if the disclosure will result in damage to, or interference with the conservation of—

(a) fossil sites, natural sites or sites that have an anthropological or heritage value; or

(b) an endangered, threatened or vulnerable species, subspecies or race of plants, vertebrates or invertebrates; or

(c) any other rare or endangered living species.

 

23   Protection of information relating to personal or public safety   TOP

(1) The head of a public body may refuse to disclose to an applicant information, including personal information about the applicant, if the disclosure will result in a threat to another person’s safety, mental or physical health or interfere with public safety.

(2) The head of a public body may refuse to disclose to an applicant personal information concerning the applicant if such disclosure will result in a threat to the applicant’s safety, mental or physical health.

 

24   Protection of information available to the public   TOP

(1) The head of a public body may refuse to disclose to an applicant information—

(a) that is available to members of the public upon payment of a specific fee; or

(b) that will be published or released to members of the public within 60 days of the date of reception of the applicant’s request.

(2) Where the head of a public body refuses to disclose information in terms of subsection (1), he shall notify the applicant, in writing, of the reasons thereof.

(3) If, after the expiration of 60 days after the date of receiving a request for information from an applicant, the information so requested is not yet published, the head of a public body shall reconsider the request by the applicant and he shall treat it as a new request.

 

25   Protection of information relating to business interests of a third party   TOP

(1) The head of a public body may refuse to disclose to an applicant information that would reveal the trade secrets, commercial, financial or labour relations or scientific or technical information of a third party that is supplied, implicitly or explicitly, in confidence, and the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to—

(a) harm significantly the competitive position or interfere significantly with the negotiating position of the third party;

(b) result in similar information being no longer provided to the public body when it is in the public interest that such information continues to be so provided; or

(c) result in undue financial loss or gain to any person or organisation; or

(d) reveal information supplied to an arbitrator, mediator, labour relations officer or other person or body appointed to resolve or inquire into a labour relations dispute; or

(e) reveal information that would harm the economic interests of the country.

(2) The head of a public body shall not disclose to an applicant information contained in a tax return form or gathered so as to determine a person’s tax liability or to collect outstanding tax.

(3) Subsections (1) and (2) shall not apply where—

(a) the third party consents to the disclosure; or

(b) the information is contained in a record that is in the custody or control of the National Archives of Zimbabwe; or

(c) the information is contained in a record that is in the archives of a public body and has been in existence for 30 or more years.

 

26   Protection of information relating to personal privacy   TOP

(1) The head of a public body shall not disclose personal information to an applicant if the disclosure will result in the invasion of a third party’s personal privacy.

(2) In determining whether or not a disclosure of personal information constitutes an unreasonable invasion of a third party’s personal privacy, the head of a public body shall consider all the relevant circumstances, including whether—

(a) the disclosure is desirable or necessary for the purpose of subjecting the activities of the government or a public body to public scrutiny;

(b) the disclosure is likely to promote public health and safety or the protection of the environment;

(c) the personal information is relevant to a fair determination of the applicant’s rights;

(d) the disclosure will assist in researching or validating the claims, disputes or grievances of indigenous people;

(e) the third party will be exposed unfairly to financial or other harm;

(f) the personal information has been supplied in confidence;

(g) the personal information is likely to be inaccurate or unreliable; and

(h) the disclosure may unfairly damage the reputation of any person referred to in the record requested by the applicant.

(3) A disclosure of personal information shall be presumed to be an unreasonable invasion of a third party’s personal privacy if the personal information—

(a) relates to a medical, psychiatric or psychological history, diagnosis, condition, treatment or evaluation;

(b) was compiled and is identifiable as part of an investigation into a possible violation of law, unless if disclosure is necessary to prosecute such violation or to continue the investigation;

(c) relates to eligibility for income assistance or social welfare benefits or to the determination of benefit levels;

(d) relates to employment, occupational or educational history;

(e) was obtained on a tax return or gathered for the purpose of collecting a tax;

(f) describes the third party’s finances, income, assets, liabilities, net worth, bank balances financial history or activities, or creditworthiness;

(g) consists of personal recommendations or evaluations, character references or personnel evaluations concerning the third party;

(h) disclosure could reasonably be expected to reveal that the third party supplied, in confidence, a personal recommendation or evaluation, character reference or personnel evaluation;

(i) indicates the third party’s racial or ethnic origin, religious or political beliefs or associations; or

(j) consists of the third party’s name, address, or telephone number and is to be used for mailing lists or solicitations by telephone or other means.

(4) A disclosure of personal information shall not be considered an unreasonable invasion of a third party’s personal privacy if—

(a) the third party has, in writing, consented to or requested the disclosure;

(b) there are compelling circumstances affecting another person’s health or safety and notice of disclosure is mailed to the last known address of the third party;

(c) disclosure is authorised in terms of the laws of the country;

(d) the disclosure is for purposes of research or statistics;

(e) the information concerns the third party’s position, functions or remuneration as an officer, employee or member of a public body;

(f) the disclosure reveals financial and other details of a contract to supply goods or services to a public body;

(g) the information is about expenses incurred by the third party while travelling on the business and at the expense of a public body;

(h) the disclosure reveals details of a licence, permit or other similar discretionary benefit granted to the third party by a public body, not including personal information supplied in support of the application for the benefit; or

(i) the disclosure reveals details of a discretionary benefit of a financial nature granted to the third party by a public body, not including personal information that is supplied in support of an application for the benefit referred to in paragraph (c) of subsection (3).

(5) The head of a public body shall, when refusing to disclose personal information supplied in confidence about a third party, give the applicant a summary of the information, if such summary can be prepared without disclosing the identity of the third party who supplied such personal information.

(6) The head of a public body may allow the third party to prepare the summary of personal information referred to in subsection (5).

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