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The Department of Defence Archives (DOD Archives) was established as the SA Defence Force Archives on 14 May 1968 following the approval by the Minister of Education of a separate military archives. Prior to this date an organisation for the preservation of the archives of the SA Defence Force did exist but it had no legal status. Presently the DOD Archives is part of the Documentation Centre.


Access is in accordance with the Promotion of Access to Information Act (Act No. 2 of 2000), National Archives and Record Service of South Africa Act (Act No. 43 of 1996) and the Protection of Information Act (Act No. 84 of 1982).

Acquisitions policy

All records of offices of the Department of Defence are transferred to the DOD Archives when they are ten years or older. The personnel records of all members of the Department of Defence are also transferred to the DOD Archives when they leave the service.

Areas of specialisation

The holdings of the DOD Archives contain the archival records of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), the statutory forces which were integrated into the SANDF in 1994, ie the South African Defence Force (SADF) � including that of its predecessor the Union Defence Force (UDF) � and the military forces of the former Transkei, Ciskei, Bophuthatswana and Venda. The records in the DOD Archives date from 1912 (when the UDF was established) to 1992 and reflect the main business activities of the above-mentioned bodies. The business activities relate to operational, administrative and technical aspects and reflect war and peace time activities. The records are supplemented by a collection of military related photographs and maps as well as official manuscripts. The personnel records also date back to 1912 and are valuable as a source of biographical detail.

Contact details

Street Address:
Schweickerdt Building
20 Visagie Street

Telephone: +27 (0)12 339-4600
Fax: +27 (0)12 339-4631
Email: sandfdoc@mweb.co.za

Postal Address:
Private Bag X289

Enquiries to:
The Deputy Director Documentation Centre

Hours of opening:

Core holdings

The holdings of the DOD Archives are extensive and cover the business activities of the DOD on all levels, i.e. from the ministry of Defence down to unit level. The approximately 2,2 million correspondence files are arranged in 2000 different archival groups. The personnel files number approximately 1 million and include the records of all former members of the SANDF, SADF and UDF. As from 1994 the personnel records of all former PSAP members are also preserved in the DOD Archives.

Finding aids

The main finding aids comprise inventories, indexes and a computer retrieval system. A List of Archives reflects the entire content of the repository. Information such as the name of the archival group, abbreviation, the extent of the group in terms of archive boxes, the location and security classification are provided. Inventories contain detailed information on the content of each archival group. The items are described individually according to the file reference, the dates and the box number. Card indexes are available on the computer retrieval system.