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Records management practices in selected municipalities in Limpopo province of South Africa.

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The high level of corruption and maladministration, lack of accountability and transparency in municipalities has become endemic and is a cause for concern in many municipalities of South Africa. The ability of any municipality to effectively perform its constitutional duties depends on the availability of relevant and comprehensive information from records. The poor state of records management in the government and public sectors in South Africa is a well-documented phenomenon. In considering poor records management practices in the public sector of South Africa, it is necessary to establish records management practices in municipalities. The purpose of this study was to examine records management practices in selected municipalities in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. The underlying principle of the study was that municipalities in South Africa are mandated by legislation to manage records systematically. The study sought to establish the current records management practices in the municipalities of the Limpopo Province, to establish the level of knowledge that staff members in municipalities have of records management, to identify the activities and strategies used to support records management practices and, finally, to identify the challenges faced by municipal officials in managing records. The Records Life Cycle and Records Continuum models were adopted in the study. Data were collected from 86 registry clerks using questionnaires and from five municipal managers and six records managers using interviews in the selected municipalities in the Limpopo Province using purposive sampling. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to analyse quantitative data to generate frequency counts, percentages, bar charts and tables while Thematic Content Analysis was used to analyse qualitative data. The ethical protocol of the University of KwaZulu-Natal was adhered to. The findings of the study revealed that paper-based records are the main formats of records created in municipalities in the Limpopo Province. The study further revealed that most of the municipal officials working with records in the selected municipalities in the Limpopo Province do not have formal qualifications in records management. It is evident from the findings of the study that while municipalities have records management policies, their employees, generally, are uninformed of their existence. The study recommends that records storage facilities in municipalities be improved to ensure that records are kept safe and conveniently accessible. Top management and political office bearers are encouraged to support effective and efficient records management practices in their municipalities. The study contributes to the body of knowledge on records management practices, especially in the context of the Limpopo Province.


Doctoral degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.