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The Purpose of Parliamentary Documents in South Africa

Oct 17, 2022 | Articles

Why is Access to the Many Parliamentary Documents Published in South Africa so Important?

Parliamentary DocumentsParliamentary documents, like the Government Gazette, provide valuable information about South Africa’s laws, the latest amendments and how these can impact the lives of its citizens. Attorneys and advocates can generally keep up to date with the latest legal developments by subscribing to one or two relevant journals. However, should they wish to explore the origins and intent or track specific changes to a particular law, they might require access to archived information dating back several decades or more. Even the most extensive reference libraries lack the space to accommodate such vast volumes of historical data in their original printed form. One early solution to this difficulty was to copy the printed text and images to microfiche and provide researchers with a suitable device to view them.

Access to Parliamentary Documents Simplified with Internet Technology

Time marches on, and the mountain of new books and journals continues to grow to the point where it is no longer practical for libraries to hold more than a small selection of the whole. However, the passage of time has also given us the world wide web and the ability to load, store, sort and access data online. Once converted into digital form, which also compresses it, the data can be stored on remote servers where researchers can access it from anywhere in the world. Multiple users can even view the same material simultaneously, an impossible feat with the solitary copies available from most conventional libraries. The compression effect dramatically increases the available data storage capacity allowing a single server to handle vast numbers of parliamentary documents and legal journals.

An Online Library of Parliamentary Documents

Far from making the traditional brick-and-mortar library redundant, the advent of internet technology has created an opportunity to extend their services and guarantee their future, providing they continue to receive sufficient funding. Many now provide personal computers, allowing their members to search for information online. However, while the Google search engine is a valuable tool for general purposes, its performance can’t be compared with the speed and accuracy of an efficient indexing system. Sabinet Online has achieved those same qualities, allowing users to search for and through international, local and African journals by multiple parameters, such as title, topic, author, language, and year of publication, as well as adopting the conventional but more restrictive practice of using keywords.

Enjoy Secure Access to Parliamentary Documents on Demand

It is often possible to purchase earlier copies of a journal or magazine through the publisher or a major distributor. Naturally, this will require paying the purchase price plus the postal charges and probably several days’ wait before receiving the desired items. Consequently, if purchasing archived material is likely to be an ongoing need, it could prove quite a costly exercise over time. Instead, you could eliminate all the waiting and most of the cost with a subscription to access the material you need online. In exchange for a reasonable fee, you could acquire a set of unique credentials that will entitle you to search and access information instantly from the various publications to which you have chosen to subscribe.

Sabinet Online allows anyone to access primary bibliographic data like title, author and abstract, but only subscribers have online access to content. However, non-subscribers have the option to view any of Sabinet’s subscription-only articles online, including parliamentary documents, on a pay-per-view basis. In addition, the company’s servers host a large selection of valuable online publications that everyone is welcome to access at no charge. We currently offer open access to 118 publications covering diverse subjects of worldwide and local interest. Look for the initials OA or the open padlock icon to identify these. Alternatively, you can select Open Access journals from the drop-down menu and then perform a search by language, publisher or collective topic to start retrieving the specialised information you need.

Role of Parliamentary Documents in Litigation

Assembling a winning strategy from an attorney’s brief requires compelling evidence. However, an in-depth understanding of the law and its interpretation is invariably just as essential. Fortunately, government publications provide an invaluable source of legal background. Sabinet Online has simplified the search for all forms of data by giving legal personnel instantaneous access to relevant parliamentary documents. Whatever your interest, you won’t find a more comprehensive source of pertinent past and current information. If you want to be the best at what you do, why not click here to register with Sabinet Online?