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University, Newsletter
29 July 2021

RESEARCH RECOMMENDS RECORD SYSTEM OVERHAUL

Dr Netshakhuma says his research was focused on developing a framework for archives and records management at institutions of higher learning in South Africa by comparing previously historically advantaged and disadvantaged universities in South Africa.

“The key findings reveal that while the university has an archive service within the library, the responsibility of preserving student records lies with the records management division that resides within the registrar’s office. However, there is no preservation strategy for student affairs records,” he says. 

“It concluded that collaboration between student affairs and records and archives departments should be enhanced to collect the student affairs records. A comprehensive study on the management of student affairs records in South African universities is recommended.”  

Dr Netshakhuma continues that his research found that the records management function was not aligned with the university's strategic plan.

“The study also found that the records management programme was not integrated into a business process which was a risk for universities to comply with various legislations such as Protection of Personal Information Act and Promotion of Access to Information Act. It proposed a records management model that universities may use to augment and foster a comprehensive records management programme.” 

Research Journey

The journey towards his PhD started with a research proposal in 2017, which was supported by UMP’s Research Division. 

“The workshops and research retreat organized by UMP have assisted me to progress in my studies,” he says. 

His research interests include knowledge, archives and records management, ethics and governance. His professional industry background includes working as an Archivist for the African National Congress Archives responsible for liberation archives movements, and Senior Manager Records Management at the Department of Public Works, Health, Social Development. 

His advice for aspiring postgraduate students is to stay dedicated and focused on their studies. 

“There is a need for constant interaction between students and supervisors. If possible, get a mentor to assist with your work before you submit it to your supervisor. You ought to balance work, leisure, and family. I received support from my family, which allowed me to complete my PhD within three years. I appreciate my wife and children for motivating and supporting me through this journey.” 

Dr Netshakhuma joined the University of Mpumalanga as a Deputy Director of Records and Archives in 2015. He is currently the Deputy Chairperson of the South Africa Higher Education Records Management Forum. He is the advisor of Reference Group for the Mpumalanga Records Management Forum, and Member of the International Council of Archives.

“At UMP I’m responsible for the archives and records management for the university. It all started with the realization that to complement my practical experience, I also needed to conduct research,” he says. 

Dr Netshakhuma has presented several national and international conference papers and published articles and book chapters. He has contributed to an e-book titled: Handbook of Research on Library Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, edited by Holland Barbara from Brooklyn Public Library in the USA. 

The book consists of chapters that contain essential library services and emerging research and technology that evolved and/or has continued during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the challenges and opportunities that have been undertaken as a result. 

@ Story by Lisa Thabethe. Pictures supplied.