04 September 2007

Invitation to the Information Officers Forum/Indaba and Golden Key Award Ceremony

Date: 28 September 2007
Time: 08:00- 19:00
Venue: Castle Kyalami in Gauteng

RSVP by 20th September 12h00:
Chantal Kisoon or Mashapa Machaba
Telephone : (011) 484-8300 Ext: 2085, 082 802 8561 or
e-mail : mmachaba@sahrc.org.za
(011) 484 83 00 Ext 2081 or email: CKisoon@sahrc.org.za

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC/Commission) has embarked on a campaign to advance and create awareness of the right to access information. The Promotion of Access to information legislation is an integral tool in informing and promoting full citizen participation, in the type of society we hope to fashion and sustain. To this end, the right to know day, celebrated on the 28 September has been earmarked by the PAIA program within the Commission as an opportune time to enhance this initiative.

The PAIA unit holds a day-long conference for Information Officers on the right to know day. The conference culminates in the Golden Key Award Ceremony, where Deputy Information Officers and Departments receive the accolade of the Golden Key, for meritorious conduct in the implementation of PAIA. This collaborative effort between the Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC) and the SAHRC, focuses primarily on Deputy Information Officers from municipalities, provincial government and national government departments.

The scrutiny PAIA has received by the ad hoc review Committee is a welcomed one. It is thus far, the first and only meaningful assessment of this type on PAIA. Recommendations of the Committee have been positively received by those who work actively with PAIA. The findings of the Committee has significantly highlighted the need for Information Officers and their deputies, activists and advocates who engage with access to information; to explore and collaborate on the translation, and implementation of the right across all strata of our society.

It is envisaged that a forum which allows for critical exploration of the challenges faced in implementing PAIA will ultimately facilitate the practical implementation of its provisions. This will thereby facilitate optimal service delivery and, ultimately the realization of the right of access for all South Africans.

Your attendance and participation will not only add significant purport to the message the Commission wishes to disseminate on the day, but it will also serve to enhance processes supporting the realistic implementation of PAIA. The information officers' forum and the Golden Key Award ceremony are being held at the Castle Kyalami in Gauteng.