Advertisement

Private-Sector Transparency as Development Imperative: An African Inspiration

  • Richard Peltz-SteeleEmail author
  • Gaspar Kot
Chapter
Part of the Kobe University Monograph Series in Social Science Research book series (KUMSSSR)

Abstract

Access to information (ATI) is essential to ethical and efficacious social and economic development. Transparency ensures that human rights are protected and not overwhelmed by profiteering or commercial priorities. Accordingly, ATI has become recognised as a human right that facilitates the realisation of other human rights. But ATI as conceived in Western law has meant only access to the state. In contemporary development, private actors are crucial players, as they work for, with, and outside the state to realise development projects. This investment of public interest in the private sector represents a seismic shift in social, economic, and political power from people to institutions, akin to the twentieth-century creation of the social-democratic state. Contingent on state accountability, Western ATI law has struggled to follow the public interest into the private sector. Western states are stretching ATI law to reach the private sector upon classical rationales for access to the state. In Poland, hotly contested policy initiatives over privatisation and public reinvestment have occasioned this stretching of ATI law in the courts. Meanwhile, in Africa, a new model for ATI has emerged. Since the reconstruction of the South African state after Apartheid, South African ATI law has discarded the public-private divide as prohibitive of access. Rather than focusing on the nature of a private ATI respondent’s activity as determinative of access, South African law looks to the demonstrated necessity of access to protect human rights. This chapter examines cases from South Africa that have applied this new ATI model to the private sector in areas with development implications. For comparison, the article then examines the gradually expanding but still more limited Western approach to ATI in the private sector as evidenced in Polish ATI law. This research demonstrates that amid shifting power in key development areas such as energy and communication, Polish courts have been pressing ATI to work more vigorously in the private sector upon theories of attenuated state accountability, namely public ownership, funding, and function. We posit that Poland, and other states in turn, should jettison these artifices of state accountability and look instead to the South African model, since replicated elsewhere in Africa, for direct access to the private sector. ATI law should transcend the public-private divide, and the nations of the North and West should recognise human rights as the definitive rationale for ATI in furtherance of responsible development.

Keywords

Access to information Comparative law Poland Privatisation South Africa Sustainable development 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to acknowledge previous research that contributed to this chapter and to thank the journals that supported that work: Peltz-Steele [24, 25].

References

  1. 1.
    Adeleke, F. (2013). Constitutional domestication of the right of access to information in Africa: Retrospect and prospects. In F. Diallo, & R. Calland (Eds.), Access to information in Africa: Law, culture and practice (pp. 83, 89).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Asimow, M. (1996). Administrative law under South Africa’s interim constitution. The American Journal of Comparative Law, 393, 394.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bentley, K., & Calland, R. (2014). Access to information and socio-economic rights: A theory of change in practice. In M. Langford & B. Cousins (Eds.), Socio-economic rights in South Africa: Symbols or substance? (p. 361).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bertoni, E., & Sánchez, G. (n.d.). Draft model law for African Union States on access to information: Comments and recommendations. http://www.palermo.edu/cele/pdf/investigaciones/AU-Draft-Model-Law-CELE.pdf.
  5. 5.
    Burns, Y. (2000). Introduction. In The Constitutional Right of Access to Information, Conference Proceedings, September 4, 2000 (p. 5) http://www.kas.de/wf/doc/kas_4936-1522-2-30.pdf?040625152235.
  6. 6.
    Calland, R. (2009). Illuminating the politics and practice of access to information in South Africa. In K. Allan (Ed.), Paper wars: Access to information in South Africa (Vol. 1, p. 4). http://foip.saha.org.za/static/paper-wars-access-to-information-in-south-africa.
  7. 7.
    Calland, R. (2014). Exploring the liberal genealogy and the changing praxis of the right of access to information: Towards an egalitarian realisation, Theoria, 61, 70–71.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Darch, C., & Underwood, P. (2010). Freedom of information and the developing world: The citizen, the state and models of openness (pp. 233–235).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Darwala, M., Nayak, V., Nalule, C., & Choraria, V. (2011). Draft model law for African Union Member States on access to information: A preliminary analysis with recommendations for change, August 2011 (p. 6). http://www.humanrightsinitiative.org/programs/ai/rti/international/AUmodelATIlaw-CHRIprelimcritique-Aug11-Delhi-VrindaCVenkatN.pdf.
  10. 10.
    Hartshorn, J. V. (2014). Can the model law on access to information for Africa fulfil expectations? Paper at European Consortium for Political Research Conference on Regulatory Governance, Barcelona (pp. 10, 12). http://reggov2014.ibei.org/bcn-14-papers/66-212.pdf.
  11. 11.
    Hlatshwayo, M. S. (2003). The politics of production and forms of worker response at the ISCOR Vanderbijlpark works, 1965–1973 (p. 53) (Unpublished M.A. thesis, University of the Witwatersrand). Available at Academia.edu, https://www.academia.edu/24723973/THE_POLITICS_OF_PRODUCTION_AND_FORMS_OF_WORKER_RESPONSE_AT_THE_ISCOR_VANDERBIJLPARK_WORKS_1965-1973.
  12. 12.
    Hohfeld, W. N. (1917). Fundamental legal conceptions as applied in judicial reasoning. The Yale Law Journal, 26, 710.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hohfeld, W. N. (1920). Fundamental legal conceptions as applied in judicial reasoning and other legal essays (p. 5).Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Klaaren, J., Currie, I., & Smith, A. (2000). Analysing foreign access to information legislation from a South African viewpoint. In The Constitutional Right of Access to Information, Conference Proceedings, September 4, 2000 (pp. 29–30). http://www.kas.de/wf/doc/kas_4936-1522-2-30.pdf?040625152235.
  15. 15.
    Lange, M. (2000). Welcoming remarks. In The Constitutional Right of Access to Information, Conference Proceedings, September 4, 2000 (pp. 7–8). http://www.kas.de/wf/doc/kas_4936-1522-2-30.pdf?040625152235.
  16. 16.
    Liebenberg, S. (2014). Socio-economic rights beyond the public-private law divide. In M. Langford & B. Cousins (Eds.), Socio-economic rights in South Africa: Symbols or substance? (pp. 63, 66–72).Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    McKinley, D. T. (2012). The right to know, the right to live: Open data in South Africa (p. 7). https://opengovernmentafrica.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/info-needs-report.pdf.
  18. 18.
    Mulgan, R. (2000). Comparing accountability in the public and private sectors. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 59, 87–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Mutula, S., & Wamukoya, J. M. (2009). Public sector information management in east and southern Africa: Implications for FOI, democracy and integrity in government. International Journal of Information Management, 29, 333–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ngabirano, D. (2013). The Uganda freedom of information campaign: Stuck in the mud? In Diallo, F., & Calland, R. (Eds.), Access to information in Africa: Law, culture and practice (pp. 191, 208–209).Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    O’Regan, K. (2000). Democracy and access to information in the South Africa Constitution: Some reflections. In The Constitutional Right of Access to Information, Conference Proceedings, September 4, 2000 (pp. 11–12). http://www.kas.de/wf/doc/kas_4936-1522-2-30.pdf?040625152235.
  22. 22.
    Pacula, P. (2016). Poland seeks to boost state control of economy. EU Observer, February 24, 2016. https://euobserver.com/beyond-brussels/132421.
  23. 23.
    Pawlik, K. (2018). Przedsiębiorca w procedurze dostępu do informacji publicznej [Entrepreneur in the procedure of access to public information]. Studenckie Zeszyty Naukowe [Sci. J. Students], 21, 37–38. http://journals.umcs.pl/szn/article/view/6782/5157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Peltz-Steele, R. J. (2018, Forthcoming). Access to information in the private sector: African inspiration for U.S. FOIA reform. Villanova Law Review, 63, 907.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Peltz-Steele, R. J. (2017). Accountability in the private sector: African ambition for right to information in India, Research Journal Social Sciences, 25, 203.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Phooko, M. L. (2013). An actionable constitutional right of ATI. In F. Diallo & R. Calland, R. (Eds.), Access to information in Africa: Law, culture and practice (pp. 171, 177).Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Pietras, S. M. (2011). Podmioty zobowiązane do udzielenia informacji publicznej w rozumieniu art. 4 ustawy z dnia 6 września 2001 r. o dostępie do informacji publicznej [Entities obliged to public information in the meaning of ATPIA]. Ius Novum, 108–119. https://iusnovum.lazarski.pl/fileadmin/user_upload/dokumenty/czasopisma/ius-novum/2011/Ius_Novum_4_6_2011_Pietras.pdf.
  28. 28.
    Roberts, A. (2001). Structural pluralism and the right to information. The University of Toronto Law Journal, 51, 243, 265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Roling, S. (2007). Transparency & access to information in South Africa: An evaluation of the promotion of access to Information Act 2 of 2000 (Dissertation) (p. 3). http://www.publiclaw.uct.ac.za/usr/public_law/LLMPapers/roling.pdf.
  30. 30.
    Siraj, M. (2010). Exclusion of private sector from freedom of information laws: Implications from a human rights perspective. Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences, 211, 215–216.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Tarnacka, K. (2009). Prawo do informacji w polskim prawie konstytucyjnym [The right to information in Polish constitutional law] (p. 13).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MassachusettsNorth DartmouthUSA
  2. 2.Jagiellonian UniversityKrakówPoland

Personalised recommendations