National Archives of South Africa: Strategic Plan for 1997-2007


The National Archives of South Africa Act (43 of 1996), which came into operation on 1 January 1997, established the foundation on which a new archives system will be built for South Africa. This Strategic Plan attempts to set medium and long-term objectives for the National Archives in its endeavours to implement the Act and contribute to the building of the new system. Obviously any projection ten years into the future is a tenuous exercise. One of the key variables is state funding, which at present is inadequate to enable the National Archives to fully meet its legislative mandate. The Strategic Plan assumes no major variations in the level of such funding.






Supporting transition

South Africa's transition to democracy is all-embracing. Apart from attending to its internal transformation processes and supporting provincialisation, the National Archives will:


International engagement


Special projects

A range of special projects are planned for the period 1997-2007. Only those which cannot be positioned elsewhere in this Plan are dealt with here.



Acquisition, custody and control


Arrangement and description



This is an area of crisis, with over 50 million pages of paper-based records in urgent need of restoration. Our present four-pronged preservation strategy (pre-archival intervention, preventive preservation, media conversion and restoration) will be maintained, but:


Access and use


Public programming

The overarching imperative here is twofold: to reach a wider audience, with special emphasis on the less privileged sectors of society; and to become a key player in broader processes designed to preserve and promote South Africa's archival heritage. To these ends, the National Archives will:


Records management

In terms of the new Act, the National Archives has a more powerful public records auditing function and has acquired numerous new client offices (e.g. statutory bodies). It is planned by 2007 to:






The under-resourcing of the National Archives is of serious concern. Every attempt will be made to motivate more generous budget allocations. At the same time, the attracting of non-state funding for special projects will be pursued vigorously.


Human resources



Both the National Archives Repository and the National Film, Video and Sound Archives are experiencing acute space shortages. It is planned to have completed extensions to both buildings by 2007. These extensions will accommodate anticipated accrual until 2000.




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