Original Research

A South African disaster legislative perspective of information management and communication systems

Olivia Kunguma
South African Journal of Information Management | Vol 24, No 1 | a1540 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v24i1.1540 | © 2022 Olivia Kunguma | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 March 2022 | Published: 18 October 2022

About the author(s)

Olivia Kunguma, Disaster Management Training and Education Centre for Africa, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


Background: Establishing a disaster information management and communication system (IMCS) is a mandate of the South African National Disaster Management Framework of 2005 (NDMF). The inception of such systems is supposed to be at the initial set-up of disaster management centres. The comprehensive functioning of a disaster centre will require an interoperable system that can collect, process, store and disseminate data. The lack of such a system might result in poor disaster risk reduction (DRR) and ineffective response.

Objective: This article identified and described IMCSs from the South African disaster policy perspective.

Methods: Qualitative in-depth interviews were used to investigate the status quo of all nine provincial disaster management centres (PDMCs) regarding the existence, functioning and understanding of IMCSs. The NDMF informed the interview questions administered to 29 purposively selected participants. Themes from descriptions by informants were used to analyse the data.

Results: All the centres operating for more than 10 years lack integrated IMCSs. The disaster managers perceive IMCSs as more information technology, computers and other physical devices and less human input systems and governance capabilities. The lack of integrated and well-governed disaster information and communication affects disaster management operations and service delivery mandate.

Conclusion: To date, no studies have explored the establishment and management of interoperable IMCSs in disaster management centres. Therefore, this study contributes to the literature on disaster information and communication discourse and practical contributions to improve the capacity of PDMCs. This article provides insight into the significance of IMCS for building resilient communities and recommendations for establishing and maintaining the systems.


disaster communication; information management; disaster governance; disaster legislation; Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR); data


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