23 February 2017

Reviewing the Past and Forging the Future: The Right2Know Gauteng 2017 Provincial Summit

On 13-14 February 2017, the Freedom of Information Programme (FOIP) interns attended the Right2Know Campaign (R2K) Gauteng Provincial Summit. The purpose of the 2-day summit was to evaluate both current and past R2K programs, determine upcoming initiatives and to strengthen engagement opportunities with local community struggles. Since FOIP works mainly with the Promotion of Access toInformation Act, 2000 (PAIA), the interns focus was to participate in discussions about R2K's campaign regarding accesses to information.

R2K 2016 Organisational Report

On the first day, the delegation was welcomed to the offices of R2K and once everyone was settled, the National Coordinator, Mark Weinberg proceeded with a review of the 2016 Organizational Report. The review addressed the status of the R2K current national campaigns: secrecy and surveillance, information access, right to communicate and solidarity of work. Once the national review was finished, the delegation was broken up into groups to discuss the upcoming provincial campaigns.

Campaign initiatives for 2017

In developing the upcoming campaign initiatives for the year, R2K held commissions on access to information, right to protest, secrecy and securitization and building the campaign. Both interns participated in the commission on the resolutions regarding access to information.

In the small group discussions on access to information, delegates spoke to need to increase R2K's participation with communities in providing education surrounding access to information laws, specifically, providing accessible tools on explaining how access to information laws work. Another topic of focus was to highlight corporate secrecy and demand transparency in order to and bring to light and fight corporate corruption. Lastly, the need to educate the public on the role of the newly established Information Regulator and its role in protecting individual rights regarding access to information was discussed.

Throughout the panel discussions a common narrative was the strong need to educate communities on the right to access of information. On the second day of the summit, resolutions were passed by the delegation to strengthen R2K's work in access to information and provide clarity on how to best assist communities.

Forging a path for the future

The right to access of information remains an integral piece of R2K's strategy in offering sustained support to local community struggles, something SAHA, as an R2K member, will continue to support. The summit provided an opportunity for the delegation to review the past successes and challenges of 2016 and to forge the path of R2K's future.