Apartheid-era Security Files

One of the original objectives of SAHA's Freedom of Information Programme (FOIP) was to assist individuals to access records concerning themselves, or to assist individuals to access a deceased relative's records if they are that individual's next of kin*, from the successor agencies of the Apartheid-era Security establishment.

Listed below are four indexes containing the names of individuals and organisations (and their respective file reference numbers) whose Security Legislation Directorate or Department of Correctional Services files are believed to be held at the National Archives. These lists were provided to SAHA by the South African Police Service in 2002.


Index of Security Legislation Directorate files on individuals (PDF) 

Index of Department of Correctional Services files on individuals (PDF)

Index of Security Legislation Directorate file on organisations (PDF)

Index of Security Legislation Directorate files on publications (PDF) 


Please Note: SAHA is not in possession of the files listed in these indexes. However, if your name or the name of your deceased next-of-kin* appears on any of these indexes and you would like to obtain a copy of the relevant file, SAHA can assist you with accessing such information by submitting a request to the National Archives on your behalf in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA).

If you would like SAHA to submit a request to the National Archives on your behalf, you will have to provide SAHA with:

  1. A completed request form, providing us with the name and reference number of the person whose file you wish to attain (as listed in the indexes above);
  2. A copy of your identification document;
  3. A statement which authorises SAHA and its representatives to access records on your behalf; and
  4. If you are the next of kin of a deceased individual, please specify your relationship to the person whose file you seek to access when contacting SAHA.

Once SAHA has received your PAIA request form, the FOIP team will contact you to discuss the processing of your request

* Section 1 of PAIA defines an "individual's next of kin" as: either an individual who was married to or who lived as if they were married to the individual immediately before their death; a parent, child, brother or sister of the individual; or if there is no next of kin or the requester has taken all reasonable steps to locate the next of kin and is related to the individual in the second degree of affinity or consanguinity then that person is the next of kin (i.e. nephew, niece, uncle, aunt, grandson, grandmother, etc).

Origin of Security Legislation Directorate files 

These files were created by the Security Legislation Directorate which was a division of the Department of Justice and Law & Order operating between 1982 and 1991 (its predecessor was the Internal Security Division). The function of the unit was to make recommendations to the Minister as to how the security legislation should be administered. For example, advising which persons should be given banning or restriction orders. These recommendations were based on  information gathered by the Directorate as well as the Security Police and like agencies. However, most classified documentation received from other branches of government was destroyed after consideration by the directorate. Therefore, the files generally contain little or no information about surveillance - as the mandate to do such investigative work was in the hands of other departments. It is also important to note that this particular Directorate's record-keeping was specifically investigated by the National Archives after independence on the belief that much documentation held by them had been unnecessarily destroyed prior to the handover of power.