29 March 2010

Information Officers Indaba in Durban

On 26 March 2010 the National Coordinating Committee of the Deputy Information Officers Forum convened an Indaba of Information Officers within KwaZulu-Natal. Gabriella Razzano of SAHA is an elected member, and civil society representative, on this Committee which seeks to assist Information and Deputy Information Officers in implementing the Act throughout South Africa.

The event, hosted at the Royal Hotel in Durban and facilitated by the Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC) and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), brought together various governmental representatives and other persons that work with PAIA in KwaZulu-Natal to discuss the particular issues experienced by the Province in working with the Act.

A number of presentations were made about PAIA from the Committee, as well as representatives of ODAC and the SAHRC. What was most enlightening, however, were the open talks between participants and the Committee which revealed the extent to which the structures of public bodies are impeding the implementation of PAIA in KwaZulu-Natal. Themes of lack of funding, unsupportive management and tiresome bureaucracy were repeatedly mentioned as serving to frustrate the distribution of information in the country.

It is hoped that this Indaba will serve as a first step in moving toward mobilising a provincial organisation of Information Officers in KwaZulu-Natal who will serve to support each other in the future implementation of PAIA.