How do I find material in the government publications collection?
Statutes and law cases may be found in the law collection and the faculty librarian for law may be contacted for assistance.
All of these publications are electronically available from 1994 onwards on the internet or on various subscription services (see Electronic sources).
The most important document issued by the South African government and printed by the Government Printer is the Government Gazette (GG) in which the acts of government are published as well as all proclamations, regulations, etc. The GG from 1910 onwards, (in a complete set of bound volumes), is available in the library collection. Prior to 1910 the various colonies each published their own gazette and the Library and Information Service holds some of these from approximately 1870 onwards. These have been indexed in the Juta's index to the South African government and provincial gazettes (shelf number SP (R) JUT).
Alternatively, a search can be performed on Sabinet Legal
(the electronic Government Gazette from 1910 onwards).
Printed copies of the various stages in which legislation is published (drafts of the bills, the final bills and acts) are housed in this section, and most will be listed when searched through SUNSearch
. Acts dated earlier than the current year, and known as the Statutes of the Republic of South Africa (shelf number XL SUI), are all kept in the law collection. The law librarian or staff members at the information desks will provide assistance with searches in these publications.
Hansard - Debates of Parliament
Upto April 2003 speeches and other issues debated in the South African Parliament were recorded and then printed by the Government Printer. After this date these publications have been made available electronically on the website of Parliament
. This is a valuable source for researchers as parliamentary debates are published verbatim in the Hansard and have therefore not been edited prior to publishing. The Library and Information Service holds (almost) complete sets of the parliamentary debates from approximately 1890-2002.
South African Statistics
The government-supported body, Statistics SA
, collects and publishes all the official statistics of South Africa. The Library and Information Service holds printed copies of the statistical documents as well as the population censuses from 1900 onwards (shelf number will be SP STAT).
The various government policies are published in different formats, i.e. as Discussion documents, Green papers and White papers (shelf number SP WP-2000).
Annual reports of the government departments, Auditor General reports and budget reports are shelved in alphabetical order, according to the name of the government department, in pamphlet boxes (example shelf number: SP FIN for the Department of Finance) in this section and library clients are welcome to browse the shelves for relevant information.
The Library and Information Service collects some of the most important reports of Commissions of inquiry (as from approximately 1890) as well as reports of parliamentary Committees. These are shelved in numerical order according to the shelf number in pamphlet boxes. It is therefore important to consult SUNSearch
and to have the shelf number ready when searching for these reports on the shelves.
Provincial material such as gazettes, budget reports, policy documents and debates are shelved in alphabetical order, according to the name of the province. The Library and Information Service collects mostly documents of the Western Cape Province and selective items of the other eight provinces. Collections of the four pre-1994 provinces (Cape Province, Natal, Orange Free State and Transvaal) are more complete (from approximately 1890 to 1993) (shelf number SP (CAP). Since 1994 all provincial publications have been made available on the websites of the various provinces
A few documents of neighbouring states were collected by the Library and Information Service up to the late 1970’s. Library clients are encouraged to consult SACat
provided by Sabinet Online for more recent publications on African countries (SACat reflects the collection of libraries in Southern Africa and contains bibliographic information referring to books, periodicals, audio-visual items and other information material). It is also possible to request material by way of the nationwide interlibrary lending system by visiting the Interlibrary Loan Section of the Library or by completing the online interlending request form, SEE Services