KZN Archives Repository

Archives are the memory of the past as they hold Government accountable for actions and enable people to protect their rights. The KZN Department of Arts and Culture has indicated that the current Central Archives Repository has been unable to take transfers (receive valuable records) for a number of years. It is prescribed that permanently valuable records should be transferred to a repository after 20 years, which means that the Repository should hold archivalia up to the year 2000.


The Province’s Archives Service operates according to three main functions, which are:

  • Records Management: deals with the management of records by client offices-classification system plans, inspections, training of client office staff and disposal of data (by destruction or archiving in a repository)
  • Oral History Unit: the collections of oral history in order to record the history that has not been documented
  • Repository Management: repositories exist in Ulundi, Durban and Pietermaritzburg. Permanently valuable archivalia are stored in carefully controlled conditions to ensure their preservation. Archivists arrange and describe the archives groups to optimize search aids, and each repository operates a reading room service where any member of the public can get professional guidance to identify and access information from the archive. The service also provides outreach programs to make the public aware of their heritage.


Currently the Province’s archives are scattered among repositories in Pietermaritzburg, Ulundi and Durban. This current situation is hampering research and impacting on the provision of equitable access to information as users frequently have to travel to more than one facility to locate the required information.


The current facility only holds records up to the early 1980’s which means the history of the Province, in the form of valuable records, from the early 1980’s onwards is still lying in Client Department offices across the Province and is at risk of never reaching a repository. This implies that the memory of a Nation during the last years of the Apartheid regime through to the change to a democracy has not been secured for future generations.


The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture promotes, supports, develops and protects the arts, culture and heritage of the Province. The Province’s heritage sites, museums and monuments also fall under this Ministry.


The KwaZulu-Natal Archives Unit is the custodian of records, oral history maps and photographs that tell the Province’s history. KZN Archives came into existence on the 01st April 2001, in terms of the KwaZulu-Natal Archives Act and Act 5 of 2000, Schedule 5 of the Constitution which provides for the Provincialisation of the archives.


The Archives unit of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture provided sufficient motivation for the need of a centralized Provincial Archives Repository, to the extent that the KZN Provincial Cabinet has endorsed the project. The decision by the Provincial Cabinet to endorse the development of the facility resulted in the commissioning of a Pre-feasibility study. The Pre-feasibility study identified sixteen sites, which were further reduced to three appropriate sites. One of the key milestones of this Feasibility Study will entail obtaining final resolution on the most appropriate site/s for the facility.


ETL Consulting has been appointed by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Treasury to conduct a feasibility study for the development of the new KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Archives Repository within the Msunduzi Local Municipality. This Feasibility Study addresses the Needs Analysis, Technical Solution Options Analysis, Delivery Options Analysis, Project Due Diligence, Value Assessment and Procurement Plan; in order to address the requirements of National and Provincial Treasury as expounded in the Infrastructure Delivery Management System.


The project is estimated to cost between R 485 Million and R 575 Million, depending on the site finally selected.