Introduction to the Collections
The collections in the National Archives and Records Service of South Africa can be divided into the audio-visual collections housed by the National Film, Video and Sound Archives (NFVSA) and the mostly paper collections which are housed in the National Archives Repository (NAR) and with the Sensitive Records Section. The National Archives ensures the proper care and maintenance in its custody.
Currently the NAR houses archival records on South Africa's history going back to the year 1829. This material can be divided into the period of the Zuid-Afrikaanche Republiek (ZAR), 1829 - 1900, the Transvaal Colony period, 1900 - 1910, the Transvaal Province period, 1910 - 1994 and National Government records from 1910 onwards.
The National Archives and Records Service of South Africa Act (Act No. 43 of 1996, as amended) determines which records can be transferred to the NAR currently. As a rule these records would consist of public records on national level identified in a disposal authority as having enduring value and they have been in existence for 20 years. In exceptional circumstances the National Archivist may allow such records to be transferred to the NAR before they have been in existence for 20 years.
Please keep in mind that some national governmental bodies perform their functions in terms of legislation which determines how they should deal with their records. In most instances this means that they keep custody of certain categories of records and these are never transferred to the National Archives Repository. Examples of such records would include title deeds housed by the Deeds Office, birth, marriage and death certificates housed by the Department of Home Affairs, categories of records of the Surveyor-General’s Office, categories of records of the Master and the Registrar of the High Court; and categories of records of the Statistics South Africa.
Due to the specialised nature of the records of the State Security Agency and the South African National Defence Force they have also been exempted from transfer to the National Archives Repository.
Records on provincial government and local government level would be transferred to the nine Provincial Archival Services throughout the country and not to the NAR.
The Sensitive Records Section deals with all records which might be deemed sensitive in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (Act No. 2 of 2000, as amended) or have been classified in terms of South African Legislation.