Latest Research Findings: Records Management an area of neglect in Traditional Institutions of Leadership and Governance

An info-graphic that depicts Records Management challenges of Traditional Institutions in Ga Molepo, Limpopo province, South Africa.

By Mahlaga J Molepo

The effective management of records in Traditional Institutions of Leadership and Governance is necessary for accountability and transparency in a country that is battling with high levels of corruption in public institutions. The Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (National Assembly of South Africa) oversees the Department of Corporative Governance and Traditional Affairs and other statutory entities. The Traditional Institutions of Leadership and Governance Framework Act (Act No. 41 of 2003, (Act No. 23 of 2009 as amended)) was passed into law in 2003. In 2009, the Act was amended and subsequently enacted in 2010. In 2017, there is a new bill that has been tabled for the amendment of certain sections of the Act. But little attention has been given to records management practices of traditional institutions in all the proposals to review the Act thus far.

Our study has found records management efforts by government only stops at government department level.  The latest research findings provide insight into the record management challenges faced by traditional institutions in the new democratic dispensation. The findings can be inferred to traditional institutions in other regions as well.

Related story: Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Bill: finalization (2003)

A cross sectional survey was used to investigate records management practices of traditional institutions in Ga Molepo, Limpopo province, South Africa. Time and financial constraints did not allow for a lengthy study. The 35 respondents who took part in the study are members of traditional councils. The overwhelming majority of the respondents were of royal descent, and mostly men who belong to a council under a headman/woman as a senior chief.

Records keeping in traditional institutions of Ga Molepo is undertaken by people referred to as ‘secretaries’.

Traditional councils in Ga Molepo use word of mouth for communication, notebooks and exercise books without carbon copies in the creation, storage and dissemination of records. These are very fragile tools of managing public records and result in the loss of significant records documenting heritage and the administration of rural communities.

Furthermore, respondents indicated there is lack of political will on the part of local government to encourage traditional institutions to upgrade from outdated records management ways to modern ones.

Read also: Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Act ( RSA 2010)

While Chapter 2, Section 4 (Subsections 1-4) of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Act (RSA 2010) outlines the functions of traditional institutions, there is very little detail regarding standards and guidelines for record keeping in traditional institutions.

Related story: Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill (RSA 2017)

Our main conclusion of the study is that there is no real records management practices by both senior leadership and headmen/women in the traditional councils of Ga Molepo. Modern records management in traditional institutions is essential for the preservation of communal memory and service delivery at grassroots level. There is an urgent need to address the records management practices of traditional institutions in order to forge a culture of accountability, transparency and corporate governance. Effective records management with standards and guidelines, set with the advice of technocrats and information professionals, should be part of the plans to improve on the functions of traditional institutions in future amendment bills of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act (No. 23 of 2009). Both traditional institutions and government have a responsibility to make financial resources available for the implementation of a comprehensive records management program in traditional institutions.



Molepo, M.J., and L.M. Cloete. 2017. “A Proposal for Improving Records Management Practices of Traditional Institutions in Ga Molepo South Africa.” Mousaion 35 (1). 46-67.

Researcher ORCID:

A Community Analysis for an ideal Library in Ga Molepo

molepo community library

In today‟s information driven society, community libraries play an important role in the development of communities. This document focuses on the role of libraries in communities with due reference to Mankgaile Village, Ga Molepo. Librarians wishing to supply these communities with library and information service must be conscious of the needs of the communities when doing a community analysis. For the purpose of consistency, the term librarian will be used throughout the analysis. This analysis will discuss some of the most fundamental basics of community analysis as suggested by author; Gibson Reading (1998). A clear understanding of one‟s community, the awareness of the number of people, gender, age, ethnicity and socio-economic background is essential for the compilation of a community analysis that is user centred. Also in discussion are the reasons for library usage, library service timeframes, how the library management can keep users interested, issues of competition and identification of interest groups. Furthermore, librarians need to know who to partner with to ensure there is community involvement and responsibility sharing. In conclusion, the analysis focuses attention on the personality of the librarian and gives an opinion on what could be done to ensure library service adds value to the community




Assignment 3  for the portfolio was the most challenging since it was the final lap towards the completion of a year’s work I worked so hard for. I enjoyed laying down the plan for a community analysis and needs assessment of the users and potential users of Alex-San Community Library. I had fun searching for information that would be added to my fist and second tasks respectively. Finding additional information on the history of Alexandra Township on Wikipedia was the most exiting.

A word of thanks goes out to all the scholars of Information Science in the group BInf Unisa Students on social networking site Facebook. To Pauline Maritz, Jullie Makwata, Karen Buckley, librarians at Alex-San Community Library and Carol Mwaura, I acknowledge all the knowledge sharing activities we engaged in during the year. Although we are worlds apart, we were able to communicate beyond the constraints of time and space. Thanks to the advancements in technology communicating was as easy as one could imagine. Without your inspiration and courage this portfolio wouldn’t have been a success. I look forward to a prosperous new year ahead and all the best for your upcoming exams. I am hoping to nail this one with the Department of Information Science, lecturers and examiners alike.

User Studies Survey 2012(PRACTICAL PORTFOLIO AIS3705)




Official Mahlaga Molepo




Bachelor of Information Science Fellow

Department of Information Science

University of South Africa

P.O Box 392

0003, South Africa

Date emailed 22 June 2012


Researcher’s address Mahlaga Molepo

33, 10th Avenue, Alexandra, 2090


What study is about?


Its usefulness: Community Libraries face serious challenges with the

advent of technology. Information and Communications

Technologies now allow library users to access

information without having to physically visit a library.

Is this phenomenon causing a decline in community library?

usage? I am going to research online databases and

Community libraries because I want to find out what the

role of online databases in community libraries can be in

order to understand how community libraries can attract

more users when they subscribe to online databases.


Why library was chosen;

and who should complete

the questionnaire? Your library is one of out of many in which users will be

asked to give their opinions on the above-mentioned

matters. From the sample population of all users of Alex-

San Community Library a sample size of 100 elements was

drawn, a consecutive identification number allocated to

each element in the sample frame and the lottery or

fishbowl selection method and technique used.


Promise of confidentiality

And professional ethics You are assured of complete confidentiality. The

Principles of integrity, business ethics and objectivity

will be adhered to for professional ethics and respect

for respondents.


Usefulness of study The results of the study will be made available to the

Department of Information Science at the University of

South Africa for review and evaluation. You may receive a

summary of the results by “writing COPY OF RESULTS

REQUESTED” on the back of the questionnaire. PLEASE NOTE:

do not include the request in the questionnaire itself.

Include your name(s) and contact details.


What to do if

questions arise I would be most happy to answer any questions you might

have. Please email or call. My work telephone is (012)

441 5781, mobile +2783 952 992 3 and email


Appreciation Thank you for your assistance

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Practical Portfolio User Studies Survey 2012


Extract from AIS3705  Practical Portfolio \ by Mahlaga Molepo


TASK 2.4 Data collection methods


2.4.1 Introduction

Data collection methods are an important aspect of social science research. After a research design has been chosen, a researcher can use a number of data collection methods to collect data for analysis. This discussion will look at measurementas the first process in data collection which follows specific rules and criteria and is used by social science researchers to record the value of a particular variable. The ordinal level of measurement will be highlighted as one measurement technique chosen for the construction of a questionnaire to be used to gather data from the chosen sample population. In contrast, measurement errors will also receive attention as I seek to highlight to the reader the probability of measurement errors during data collection. Usage of existing data will be discussed against the backdrop of the need to use available material that can help answer specific research questions. Note that sampling will be used to enable me to collect data from a representative sample frame of the entire population of library users in Alexandra Township. The strategy is to use a research design that will be systematic in obtaining specific information using structured interviews and focus groups interviews. A self-administered questionnaire will be cited as a data collection instrument with questions for respondents.   Measurement

Measurement is usually applied to the research in order to help find accurate answers to the questions and sub-problems that were highlighted in Since the social problem been investigated was undertaken within a library environment, the measurement helps analyse questionnaires which were given out to respondents at Alex-San Kopano Community Library. According to RSC201H (2009:171) measurement is defined as when a researcher “records” the value of a particular variable in order to describe the variable. Moreover, measurement gives a researcher objective evaluations which can be verified by other researchers, whether they are valid and reliable. A questionnaire which does not adhere to the criteria of a measurement would not be able to pose appropriate questions to respondents thereby preventing the researcher to engage with respondents in a manner that would help find accurate answers to the research questions. Choosing the right type of a measurement is an important step forward. In the next section, the ordinal level of measurement will be discussed as chosen for this research project.



Model Assignment answers for BInf Scholars at UNISA


Dear BInf Scholar!

After long hours of reading, drafting and hardwork preparing for the first assignment for AIS202H module and finally managing to complete and submit, i have just realised just how tough the task was for most of the BInf scholars.

As a token of my appreciation to some of the contributions i received from my fellow scholars and colleagues during preparation for the assignment, i have posted a model assignment for viewing by interested scholars.


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