MyBroadband.co.za ignores PAIA request and SAHRC investigates
During my ongoing ISPA complaint against MyBroadband.co.za, I required additional information from MyBroadband.co.za, which I could not retrieve since my access was blocked without notice or warning. Since I wanted to make my ISPA complaint as detailed as possible, and although my initial blog-post about MyBroadband.co.za censorship was already very detailed I needed some more screenshots which I could not get without having my account unbanned. It was also uncertain that the owners of the forum would provide information requested which would just substantiate my complaint with ISPA with further evidence.
Since MyBroadband never furnished an explanation of the ban, I was left with the only option to use PAIA (Promotion of Access to Information Action) which in essence allows anyone to access personal information held by a public body. This is sometimes helpful for consumer complaints and all companies typically comply with Section 51 of PAIA which describes that a PAIA manual should be made accessible through a website or as a public document. The PAIA manual typically describes the process to be followed and any applicable administrative fees when requesting records. Large companies make PAIA easily accessible (FNB, Discovery Health or Standard Bank) as it also highlights contact details and requirements for a PAIA request.
I asked MyBroadband.co.za on three occasions (8th June, 9th June and 12th June) to acknowledge my PAIA request and received NO feedback. Technically MyBroadband has 30 days from PAIA submission to respond to the PAIA request, but the lack of acknowledging my request and not making the PAIA manual accessible via their website was something a large IT publication such as MyBroadband should certainly handle with more care and diligence.
Last week I then decided to lodge a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission which has just confirmed that my complaint will be investigated:
While it is completely unnecessary to get the SAHRC involved in such a minor matter, it does ensure that our laws and human rights are protected – even when it comes to trivial aspects such as forum censorship, irrational banning of accounts or not adhering to the Public Access of Information Act – aspects which described within the Bill of Rights which is part of South Africa’s Constitution.