An integrated framework to elevate information governance to a national level in South Africa

Date11 March 2019
Published date11 March 2019
AuthorPaul Anthony Mullon,Mpho Ngoepe
Subject MatterInformation & knowledge management,Information management & governance
An integrated framework
to elevate information governance
to a national level in South Africa
Paul Anthony Mullon
COR Concepts, Centurion, South Africa, and
Mpho Ngoepe
University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Purpose As an emerging discipline, information governance (IG) presents a number of challenges to
organisationsand countries. For example, IG has not yet been clearly dened and current proponentspresent
the concepts as records management, information management, enterprise content management, privacy
(data protection), freedom of information, corporate governance, information risk, information security and
e-discovery, to mention justa few areas. At an organisationallevel, initiatives focus on one of these aspects,
often conicting with the other elements, and are initiated because of some immediate business challenge,
such as the introduction of theProtection of Personal Information Act (data protection or privacylegislation)
in South Africa. Thisis compounded by the fact that the country creates many fragmented policiesand pieces
of legislation on thesame IG aspects which are conducted in a disjointed manner.This study aims to present
an integrated IG frameworkat the country level, comprising key success factors, required instruments(policy
and legislation), principles and a proposed list of elements or disciplines, which should be managed in a
Design/methodology/approach This study adopted the Information Governance Initiatives
pinwheel facets of IG to design an integrated framework of elevating IG to country level. The pinwheel
helped to identify different facets of information disciplines and the responsible oversight mechanism for
implementation in South Africa. The study relied on data obtained through content analysis of policy
documents, legisla tive frameworks, and l iterature review re garding the identied facets of IG i n
South Africa.
Findings The study established that only some aspects/domains/facets of IG are legislated and driven
by policy in South Africa. These domains are at different levels of maturity and different stakeholder
groups are responsible for each domain; for instance, the National Archives of South Africa is
responsible for records management and the State Information Technology Agency is responsible for
information technology, while the newly established Information Regulator is responsible for freedom of
information and data privacy. There is generally no over-arching structure responsible for overall IG in
South Africa as the elements are fragmented in various oversight mechanisms and institutions. As a
result, domains compete for limited resources and often lead to knee-jerkresponses to legislative, legal
or risk drivers.
Research limitations/implications It is concluded that if IG is not regulated and modelled at a
country level, it is highly unlikely to lter down to organisations.Implementing IG at country level will go a
long way inhelping to lter it down to an organisation level.
Originality/value The study is usefulby presenting a framework to ensure that IG is implemented at the
country level with a singlecoordinating body established for oversight mechanismssuch as the Information
Regulator (which currentlyhas a narrow scope of privacy and freedom of information,although with limited
Keywords Information technology, Records management, South Africa, Freedom of information,
Information governance
Paper type Conceptual paper
Received23 September 2018
Revised10 December 2018
Accepted12 December 2018
RecordsManagement Journal
Vol.29 No. 1/2, 2019
pp. 103-116
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/RMJ-09-2018-0030
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