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An assessment of the state of national archival and records systems in the ESARBICA region: A South Africa‐Botswana comparison

Mpho Ngoepe (Auditor‐General of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa)
Segomotso Masegonyana Keakopa (Department of Library and Information Studies, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana)

Records Management Journal

ISSN: 0956-5698

Article publication date: 12 July 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess and compare the current state of archival and records systems in two of ESARBICA member countries, namely South Africa and Botswana.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses a qualitative research approach. To draw inferences and make recommendations, a survey was conducted in national and provincial archival institutions of both countries. Secondary data were derived from literature search and primary data from questionnaires.

Findings

While archives and records services in both countries do have legislation, they are not being recognised and given status in the government and public arena. Archivists and records managers in either country are still marginalised by state administration. There is no political champion of archives and records management in either country. There is a shortage of funds and staff, accompanied by poor infrastructure and lack of vision by the leaders of archival institutions in both countries. In South Africa, the national archives have inherited a role from the previous dispensation and it still remains a subordinate functionary within the Department of Arts and Culture, rather than being relatively independent. In Botswana, the national archival system is centralised and is also a subordinate functionary within the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.

Practical implications

The findings and recommendations will help in guiding national and provincial archival institutions in both countries to facilitate the effective management of records to determine those of archival value, to preserve them for posterity and to make them accessible to the public.

Originality/value

This is the first comparative study on archival and reocrds management systems between Botswana and South Africa.

Keywords

Citation

Ngoepe, M. and Masegonyana Keakopa, S. (2011), "An assessment of the state of national archival and records systems in the ESARBICA region: A South Africa‐Botswana comparison", Records Management Journal, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 145-160. https://doi.org/10.1108/09565691111152071

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited