The Role of recordings management in fostering good governance: the case of the KwaZulu-Natal Regional Land Claims Commission.
Lembethe, Babongile Julia.
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Land is a contested issue in South Africa. The post-1994 democratic government has brought forth various laws, policies, programmes and projects to deal with dispossession of land that occurred during colonisation and apartheid. The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform oversees the land reform agenda. The Commission on Restitution of Land Rights is nationally responsible for processing land claims with provincial commissions in each of the nine provinces. Processing land claims requires records management. Land claims processing has been fraught with delays, missing records, changing laws, diminishing budgets and dissatisfied claimants and land owners. These problems highlight the need for good governance. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to determine the role of records management in fostering good governance, including accountability, community participation, efficiency, effectiveness and transparency. This qualitative study was underpinned by the interpretivism worldview, using the KwaZulu¬ Natal Regional Land Claims Commission (KZN-RLCC) a case study to explore records management for land claims processing. Sub-units of the KZN-RLCC were units of analysis; namely: information management unit, operations unit, finance unit and legal unit. The study was driven by a meta-conceptual framework of the record life cycle and record continuum models. Primary data were collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews while secondary data consisted of journals, books, laws and policy documents. Data were analysed through a combination of content, matrix and thematic analysis.The study revealed that proper records management fosters good governance. In addition, data show, among other things, that the KZN-RLCC is faced with extremely heavy caseloads and does not always comply with records management policies and practices for a variety of reasons. It is recommended that KZN-RLCC invest in recruiting qualified personnel and/or provide training to present staff. It is further recommended that the information management unit receive sufficient support from top management, including designation of an official records manager. These along with other recommendations emanating from the study would facilitate efficient and effective record keeping, which in tum will promote good governance.