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112 S. African L.J. 45 (1995)
A Motivation for Legislation on Access to Information

handle is hein.journals/soaf112 and id is 61 raw text is: A MOTIVATION FOR
Research Officer, Centre for Applied Legal Studies, University of the Witwatersrand,
Lecturer in Law, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Candidate Attorney
'People's expectations [in a new South Africa] will be enormous, the means
available for satisfying them scant. The new government can either shut people
up and decide on their behalf what to do with the limited resources, or else
involve people themselves in making informed choices. Clearly, the latter
requires the maximum circulation of information and ideas. Freedom of expres-
sion and accountability thus become inseparable.'
- Albie Sachs Protecting Human Rights in a New South Africa (1990) 52.
Having included a right of access to information in the interim
Constitution, South Africa has made a pledge to work towards a
transparent democracy. Indeed, transparency is one of the core values
underpinning an 'open and democratic society based on freedom and
equality', the promotion of which is stressed in the Chapter on
Fundamental Rights.' This article argues that in order to secure and
extend that right, Parliament should pass broad legislation on access
to information.2
Before one examines the specifics of a statute on access to infor-
mation, it may be useful to look at some of the theories and rationales
behind the principle of access to information.
* Cand Jur (Copenhagen).
t BA (Harvard) MA (Cape Town) JD (Columbia).
t BA LLB (Witwatersrand).
' Section 35(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1993 (Act 200 of 1993),
hereinafter referred to as the Constitution.
2 This article draws upon research the authors have conducted as part of the Centre for
Applied Legal Studies Administrative Law Reform Project, although the views expressed herein
are solely the responsibility of the authors. The authors would like to thank in particular Dennis
Davis, Cora Hoexter, Etienne Mureinik, Lydia Levin, Ruth Ward and Dorothy Wheeler.
Some of the material is drawn from unpublished memoranda including Lenejohannessen 'The
Rationales for Freedom of Information' (unpublished research memorandum, May 1994);
Jonathan Klaaren 'Access to Information in the Interim Constitution' (unpublished memorandum
for the University of the Witwatersrand Constitutional Law Programme, April 1994); Justine
White 'A Comparative Survey of Access to Information Legislation' (unpublished research
memorandum, July 1994).

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