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Government Publications Collections

Our Collections

The Government Publications Department contains the main collection of government publications in UCT Libraries. There are some government publications in other sections of UCT Libraries, particularly the Built Environment Library.

The collection includes all key types of government publications: census, legislation, parliamentary, planning, policy, public finance, government gazettes and statistical documents.

We have publications issued by the Executive and Legislative branches of government. The Law Library has documents issued by the Judicial Branch of government.

We have publications issued by government departments, agencies and public entities, as well as publications issued by international governmental organisations. 

The Government Publications Department houses both current and historical collections of government documents in UCT Libraries.

J. W. Jagger Library Fire, 18 April 2021

The J. W. Jagger Library fire of 18 April 2021 resulted in the loss of a major part of the Government Publications collection. We lost our collections for the following countries: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. A large portion of the South African collection of books was destroyed, plus most of the House of Assembly/National Assembly Debates (Hansard), our Cape Provincial and Cape Town City Council collections, the post-1994 Provincial and local government collections, the Homelands and a section of South African statistics. Publications of the British Colonial Office, the European Union, the Commonwealth, various international governmental organizations, including the United Nations, the International Labour Organization and the World Trade Organization were all lost. 

Current collections

For South Africa we collect national government publications, selected provincial (mostly Western Cape) and selected local (mostly City of Cape Town) government publications. It is increasingly difficult to acquire print copies of government publications. 

Our collection covers official publications from Africa, focusing primarily on southern Africa, particularly South Africa’s neighbouring states. We have recent material from other African countries, including to a lesser degree the French-speaking and Portuguese-speaking countries. The countries from which we collect are the following: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dijibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini/Swaziland,  Ethiopia, Gabon,The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Réunion, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe,Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe.

We have a good range of publications from several African regional organizations: the African Union (AU), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), the InterGovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and a few publications each from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC)

Historical collections

The Government Publications collection includes material from all the former British colonies, with particularly good holdings for the Cape of Good Hope, fair holdings for Natal, Orange Free State and Transvaal. Our holdings for the East African countries are sparse for the 1970's and 1980's, but are good for the late 1990's onwards. 

There is also an excellent collection of Union of South Africa (1910-1961) and Republic of South Africa (1961-1994) national government publications. Our South African collection includes sets of basic 1910-1994 Provincial publications for the Cape of Good Hope, Natal, Orange Free State and Transvaal. We also have good holdings for the Homelands: Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, Gazankulu, KaNgwane, KwaNdebele, KwaZulu, Lebowa, Qwaqwa,Transkei and Venda. We have some Divisional Council and Regional Services Council documents as well as a good set of City of Cape Town publications. 

We have the British Command paper series up to 1990, and selected British publications thereafter. We have selected volumes of the Irish University Press Series of 19th century British Parliamentary Papers.