Preservation of public records and archives in Swaziland government ministries and the Department of Swaziland National Archives (SNA).
The study investigates preservation of public records and archives in Swaziland Government Ministries and the Department of Swaziland National Archives. The proper preservation of public records ensures continued access to a nation’s documentary heritage. If public records are not properly preserved, efficiency in government is compromised. This results to poor-decision making, increased fraudulent behaviour and unguided development of operational policies. Failure to implement proper records preservation initiatives in Swaziland government ministries headquarters has resulted in many valuable public records not finding their way to the Department of Swaziland National Archives (SNA). The main aim of the study is to investigate records preservation practices in the Swaziland Government Ministries and the SNA, in order to develop a records preservation framework. An integrated records management approach which utilises both the Records Life Cycle and the Records Continuum Models was used to underpin the study in the theoretical framework. The study used a mixed method approach of both qualitative and quantitative to complement each other and to obtain in-depth analysis. Methodological triangulation was used to approach the study in different ways. A response rate of 67.8% was achieved for questionnaire 1 and a response rate of 100% was achieved for questionnaire 2 and the interviews. The results of the questionnaires and observation schedule were analysed, using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and data collected using the interview schedules was analysed qualitatively. The finding of the results reflect that the government ministries are putting a remarkable effort into the preservation of public records. However, the absence of legislation that caters for the proper management of records throughout their life cycle, as well as considering issues pertaining to the management and preservation of electronic records, has been a major challenge. The different records preservation challenges that government ministries faced included: The absence of policies relating to the management and preservation of records, insufficient budget allocated to support records preservation activities, Inadequate records preservation training for most officers working in government ministries and Uncontrolled access to records storage areas. The study’s conclusions includes that government should make all staff responsible for the management of public records aware of the available procedures and policies that govern the management and care of records.