n Mousaion - A framework for a records management programme : lessons from the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in South Africa

Volume 28, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



An effective and efficient records management programme is essential for the governance of any organisation. The control functions it exercises can make a vital contribution to the achievement of business objectives and administrative efficiency. However, there is consensus among researchers that many organisations struggle to develop records management programmes to meet business needs. Developing a records management programme is a highly complex and difficult task, to the extent that it is common for records management projects to exceed scheduled completion dates or not be completed at all. This article reports on the findings of an MINF research project (Ngoepe 2008) conducted at Unisa that sought to examine the principles involved in establishing a records management programme with specific reference to the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) in South Africa. Data were collected through online questionnaires, observation and interviews with a selected sample of people and analysed using open source software. The findings suggest that the commitment and support of top management are of enormous value in the implementation of a records management programme. The authors surmise that a records management programme will function effectively only if it is developed in the context of the larger managerial environment, so that records management procedures reflect overall management objectives. Furthermore, the establishment of an effective records management programme is reliant on an understanding by public servants at all levels of the importance of records and the need for records management infrastructure, that is, policies, strategies, procedures, filing systems, and so on. A further study to investigate records management models in the public sector is recommended.

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