The Re-Opening of the National Archives
The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture is committed to providing the South African public and the world at large with services that they require. To continue to offer access to the unique resources needed by the public the department has decided to re-open some of the much needed services to the public, that of the archival services. This resource is a positive and necessary step for the public.
The re-opening will be a phased process to allow for effective management of risk, and plans should anticipate the possibility of having to adapt or withdraw access again, should the Department of Health and government guidance require it.
The reopening will take a risk-managed approach, recognising individual archive service situations. The phased in process will take into account the COVID-19 regulations set by government and ensuring that the protocols of the National state of Disaster are enforced, for example limiting the number of people to not more than fifty at a time.
It is against the aforementioned brief background that the Department announces to the public that the National Archives will be opened from tomorrow, 16 Septembr 2020 from 10h00, this is a positive and necessary step for archive services and the community at large.
This reopening will take into account the public health guidance and conservation needs, and not put staff, volunteers, users or other site visitors at risk.
The public should however note that that there will be limited services that will be offered at this stage as to ensure that the protocols of the State of Disaster Covid-19 regulations are enforced, that includes limiting the number of people to not more than fifty.
The re-opening will also be in line with social distancing guidance, we anticipate that this will mean reduced opening hours and increased restrictions on access as indicated above. We also recognise that services may experience a continuing reduction in staff resources or need to support the priorities, which could have an impact on the ability to carry out the full range of core functions.
The National Archives will keep services to the new arrangements under review, to adapt procedures in light of experience and to plan to increase activity when it is safe and possible to do so. It may be some time before a full service can re-open and the effective management of storage spaces will continue to be important.
The Department may give further guidance about expectations for the medium term when services have some experience of delivering under these new conditions and collectively establish good practice assumptions.
The Department and the staff are looking forward to re-opening its doors to the public and urge South Africans to be patient as the the department ready itself and continue to operate under these trying times.
Members of the community are reminded to wear their masks and follow the necessary protocols required on site.
Issued by the National Department of Sport, Arts and Culture
Zimasa Velaphi: Head of Communications