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ESARBICA Journal: Journal of the Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives

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Role of Public Archivists and Records Managers in Governance and Local Development under a Democratic Dispensation

Isabel Schellnack-Kelly, Thomas B Van der Walt

Abstract


This article is based on findings and recommendations in a doctoral thesis concerning the correlation between governance, the management of public sector records and the Western World agenda to eradicate poverty and embark on sustainable development undertakings. The geographical focus of this article, like the study, is South Africa. The study’s backdrop was the 21st century agenda formulated by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and United Nations to completely eradicate world poverty by 2030. These agencies determined governance criteria as the barometers for interested stakeholders, including citizens, with which transparency, accountability, respect for the rule of law and citizens’ rights could be gauged. All of which are dependent on the accessibility of information to provide the necessary evidence. In South Africa, public archivists and records managers are responsible for managing and caring for the public sector related information sources. In recent years, the reports from the Office of the Auditor-General’s on public entities reveal concerning narratives of public entities’ failures to provide evidence and accountability relating to public financial management matters. The management of public sector information sources must be evident in the boardroom agenda. Poverty eradication projects in the Vhembe District Municipality and iSimangaliso Wetland Authority, for example, are also dependent on accessible, authentic information sources. Such projects depend on the public archivists and records managers in ensuring the effective management and protection of, as well as accessibility to, relevant information whenever required.This article is based on findings and recommendations in a doctoral thesis concerning the correlation between governance, themanagement of public sector records and the Western World agenda to eradicate poverty and embark on sustainabledevelopment undertakings. The geographical focus of this article, like the study, is South Africa. The study’s backdrop wasthe 21st century agenda formulated by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and United Nations to completelyeradicate world poverty by 2030. These agencies determined governance criteria as the barometers for interested stakeholders,including citizens, with which transparency, accountability, respect for the rule of law and citizens’ rights could be gauged. Allof which are dependent on the accessibility of information to provide the necessary evidence. In South Africa, public archiv istsand records managers are responsible for managing and caring for the public sector related information sources. In recent years,the reports from the Office of the Auditor-General’s on public entities reveal concerning narratives of public entities’ failures toprovide evidence and accountability relating to public financial management matters. The management of public sectorinformation sources must be evident in the boardroom agenda. Poverty eradication projects in the Vhembe DistrictMunicipality and iSimangaliso Wetland Authority, for example, are also dependent on accessible, authentic informationsources. Such projects depend on the public archivists and records managers in ensuring the effective management andprotection of, as well as accessibility to, relevant information whenever required.



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