25 March 2013

SAHA-SAHRC conclude their ATI community workshops


In 2012 the South African Human Rights Commission together with SAHA collaborated to train and raise awareness in Soweto over three sessions on access to information.

On 25 March 2013 the duo held the last community training in Soweto.

The aim of the workshops was to capacitate community leaders, development workers and ordinary citizens on section 32 of the constitution and on the use of the enabling law the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA).

The training was held over a period of five months with the same community, this was done intentionally in order to keep with PAIA time frames.

SAHA’s Freedom of Information programme in collaboration with SAHRC delivered the first workshop in Soweto, Phiri on 16 and 19 November 2012 and was attended by 45 participants. The second workshop held on 7 February 2013 and was attended by 19 participants. The final workshop was held in on 25 March 2013, and was attended by 22 participants.

Resulting from the first workshop, FOIP has submitted a PAIA request to the Johannesburg municipality, which Soweto falls within.  Participants raised issues concerning poor and in some instances lack of service delivery. Their issues were then turned into request for information. The request lodged on behalf of the participants seeks records which includes; RDP housing lists, water and electricity plans and policies, education and unemployment plans, 5 year budget allocation and spend and the municipalities 5 year Integrated Development Plan (IDP).

In the second workshop, participants reflected on the outcomes of not only SAHA’s submission but on their own submissions too. Discussions were had on what information was released like City of Johannesburg’s 2013/2014 budget and what was outstanding. Furthermore, to make the records useful to the community the documents were summarised and interpreted so that the information released was useful to them. Participants were also taught how to make internal appeals, to appeal any outstanding materials and deemed refusals.

In the last session held, community members were assisted in drawing up complaints to the SAHRC and the Public protector.

FOIP and SAHRC have made a commitment to return to these communities to hold follow up workshops, and will continue to offer support to the community.


For more information on SAHA's Freedom of Information Programme.