FAQ Access to Sensitive Archival Records


What is a "classified" record?

Official records requiring the application of security measures (exempted from disclosure) must be classified as " restricted", "confidential", "secret" or "top secret" in terms of the Minimum Information Security Standards (MISS).


What is a "sensitive " record?

In terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (Act No. 2 of 2000, as amended) and Protection of Personal Information Act (Act No. 4 of 2013) sensitive records are defined as those records that contains information that is of a personal, or confidential, or harmful nature.


What is PAIA?

PAIA stands for the Promotion of Access to Information Act (Act No. 2 of 2000, as amended). This legislation allows for access to information which is held by both the state and private bodies. It is also the legislation that the National Archives uses to determine access to the archival records in its holdings.


How long do I have to wait for my PAIA request to be processed?

In terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (Act No. 2 of 2000, as amended) the National Archives has to respond back to the requester within 30 calendar days. In circumstances as set out in the Act this period can be extended for another 30 calendar days.The National Archives strives to respond within 7 calendar days, but this is not always possible especially if other role players have to be consulted or a large number of requests are received at the same time.


What is "POPIA"?

POPIA stands for the Protection of Personal Information Act (Act No. 4 of 2013). The purpose of this Act includes the promotion and the protection of personal information processed by public and private bodies; the introduction of certain conditions so as to establish minimum requirements for the processing of personal information; the establishment of a Information Regulator; the issuing of codes of conduct; the provision for the rights of persons regarding unsolicited electronic communications and automated decision making; the regulation of the flow of personal information across the borders of the Republic.


What is "Personal Information"?

Personal Information relates to an identifiable, living, natural person, and where applicable, an identifiable, existing juristic person, including, but not limited to: race, gender, sex, physical or mental health, age, disability, religion, belief, culture, language, birth, education, medical history, financial history, criminal history, employment history, biometric information, ID number, e-mail address, physical address, telephone number, private or confidential correspondence, the personal views of the person, the views or opinions of another individual about a person.


What is MISS?

"MISS" stands for the Minimum Information Security Standards which was created by the State Security Agency as an official government policy document on information security.