03 December 2013

Right2Know launches a Leadership School to empower comrades

Right2Know LogoThe Right2Know campaign (R2K) has brought community leaders' and activists to its inaugural leadership school. The school's purpose is to engage with and deepen comrades' appreciation of the various issues impacting on the right to know in South Africa as well as to enhance its organisational capacity. The school will run from 2 to 6 December 2013.

The main focus of the school is to develop comrades understanding of how the four pillars of the R2K campaign applies to their local communities:

  1. State of Democracy: Taking stock of where South Africa is in terms of allowing for participatory democracy and engaging on matters hampering democratic progress
  2. State Secrecy: Understanding how the State engages with citizens on security legislation and how this engagement links to political battles and corrupt business activity in conjunction with the corporate sector
  3. Information Access & Whistle-blowers: How to use the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (PAIA) to enable evidence based advocacy on local issues and to consider other ways of accessing information
  4. Media Freedom & Diversity, and Telecommunications: Examining principles of freedom of speech, opportunities and limits of media diversity in South Africa today, efforts to transform the print media industry

On 3 December SAHA's Freedom of Information Programme was honoured to facilitate and present its learnings and experiences in using PAIA to access information. The robust session saw participants engage with each other on how to access information (the right to know) touches their everyday struggles. Comrades demonstrated understating on why access to information is important as an enabling right. They expanded the conversation to include their personal experiences with PAIA. They realised that PAIA could be used to strengthen their advocacy work, with comrade Matilda saying;

"...we have tried other methods of accessing information from the City of Cape Town and have failed...but I have used PAIA and received records...although not what we asked for my community of Blikkiesdorp has information... and we will keep fighting until we receive the correct information to carry on with our struggle..."

Through engaging with participants comrades were able to; 1) identify their issues, 2)figure out what information they needed, 3)indicate which records might provide that information, and 4) identify who and how they need to approach to receive those records.


Learn more on the Freedom of Information Programme

Download the PAIA Resource Kit - 1Mb [Registration required]

For support in submitting a PAIA request contact the FOIP team