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Archival Platform invited to brief the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture.

One of the key concerns raised in the State of the Archives analysis is the lack of political will and support for archives. This may be attributed to the fact that politicians and other decision makers do not fully understand or appreciate the critical role that archives play in upholding democracy and promoting transparent and accountable government. This may be changing!

On 1 September 2015 the Archival Platform was invited to meet with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture to present its report, State of the Archives: an analysis of Souh Africa’s national archival system

The minues of the meeting, summarised on the Parliamentary Monitoring Group website note that, “The Archival Platform Steering Committee presented on the state of the archives in South Africa. The main challenges and problems that were highlighted were poor records management and preservation; the lack of transformation and redress; the lack of accessibility to the public; and the lack of collaboration between the different archive services and entities. The Archival Platform felt that the national archival system was in trouble and not delivering on its mandate. It felt that the archival system had been marginalised. It challenged the national and provincial government to address resource and capacity challenges through the conditional grant; to improve effective delivery of archives and records management services; and to step up engagement with citizens, memory institutions and organisations. The Department¬ís response acknowledged all of these problems and the challenges highlighted by the report. It said it was currently in the process of making efforts to improve the state of the national archival system, but it was difficult due to limited human and financial resources. The biggest effort that was being made towards improving the system was the conducting of a feasibility study which it hoped would produce solutions that would help deal with the challenges and problems.The Committee felt that most of the problems and challenges that were prevalent in the system would be sorted out if the Department had a National Archivist, and asked when this vacancy would be occupied. It said the problem with the Department was that it was forever planning things instead of doing things. The Committee challenged the Department to start doing its job.”

The Chairperson concluded the meeting by assuring the Archval Platform that archives would be “on the committees dashboard’ for the next five years!

To read the full minutes of the meeting, read the Archival Platform analysis and the DAC’s response, visit the PMG website.

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