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FINANCE SELECT COMMITTEE
25 May 2000
STATISTICS SOUTH AFRICA: ANNUAL REPORT
Statistics South Africa Presentation
Statistics South Africa Annual Report 1999
Gross Domestic Report: First Quarter 1999 (see website for document)
Consumer Price Index April 2000 (see website for document)
Statistics South Africa website at www.statssa.gov.za
News article: Departure of Stats SA head
The committee heard from Statistics South Africa. The South African Revenue Service (SARS) was expected to make a presentation, but was not in attendance. It is expected that a meeting with SARS will be held during constituency week.
The committee voted to accept Budget Vote 30 (State Expenditure Department) and Budget Vote 31 (Statistics South Africa). After the vote was taken, Mr Durr (ACDP) and Mr Krumbock (DP) noted that only four of the provinces were present, and not the required five which would constitute a quorum. After some discussion, it was decided that the committee would agree in principle to the vote, but would withhold accepting the report until it had been determined whether the committee had voted legally.
The Committee was to hear representations from Statistics South Africa and the South African Revenue Service(SARS). SARS was unable to appear before the committee. No reason was given for their absence. Members decided to withhold voting on the SARS section of the budget until an appropriate time to meet could be established. It is expected that a meeting will be held during constituency week.
Presentation by Statistics South Africa
Dr Mark Orkin, Head of Statistics, Ms Annette Myburgh, Chief Director, Economic Statistics and Surveys and National Accounts, and Mr Pali Leholha, Chief Director of Demography briefed the committee on the state of Statistics South Africa (see Annual Report).
Mr Leholha was questioned as to what strategies were in place to ensure that the census would include informal settlements and rural areas where access was poor. He responded that, in rural areas, special committees had been established to collect statistical information from farmers, and information gathered by locals within the communities had been used. With respect to informal settlements, he stated the areas were being closely monitored, and that constant discussions with local governments were being held to ensure the safety of census workers entering those areas. He added that the military would be used, if necessary, to guarantee that researchers had access to all regions.
(Q) Mr Durr (ACDP) asked what inflation adjusters were used to ensure that reference to growth in terms of the Rand was not misrepresented?
(A) Dr Orkin replied that they had used the 1995 year as the base for the new constant price national accounts estimate. He added this was in accordance with the latest guidelines of an internationally agreed system of national accounts. He referred Mr Durr to Table 16 Table I, and the accompanying explanatory notes in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) publication for further information on inflation adjusters (see GDP document on their website).
(Q) Dr Conroy (NNP) asked what percentage of the Department of Finance's budget did Statistics South Africa receive?
(A) Dr Orkin stated that they were their own department, and thus did not fall under the Department of Finance's budget. Statistics South Africa reports directly, alongside the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and State Expenditure to the Minister of Finance. He added that his department's core annual budget was approximately R130 million in non-census years, and R200 million in census years.
(Q) Mr Raju (DP) asked for the consumer price index for Durban-Metro?
(A) Dr Orkin referred Mr Raju to the following section of the chart located in Table 21 of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) publication for April 2000 (CPI document published on their website):
% change between
129,4 134,0 135,3
132,4 137,4 139,0
(Q) Mr Taabe (ANC) asked if concrete statistics on HIV/AIDS would soon be available?
(A) Dr Orkin replied they had recently created a committee in co-operation with the Department of Health and numerous universities to try and better identify the percentage of the population infected with the virus. Current statistics on people with HIV/AIDS in South Africa were based solely on confidence intervals.
(Q) The Chair asked what problems SADC countries were facing with respect to database collection?
(A) Dr Orkin responded that countries in Western Africa had exceptional statistical equipment, but many of the poor African countries lacked proper statistical mechanisms. He admitted that there was a definite imbalance in database collection between the rich and poverty-stricken countries, but noted that all countries had shown improvement over previous years.
(Q) The Chair asked what measures were being taken to monitor cross-border immigration?
(A) Dr Orkin replied that the situation was currently being handled by SADC. In addition, many universities have been studying the effects that it will have on the provinces. Other questions pertaining to this topic were asked, but went unanswered.
(Q) Mr Krumbock (DP) asked whether the increase in emigrating South Africans was attributable to "brain-drain"?
(A) Dr Orkin said that statistics on the "brain drain" were not adequate enough to make such conclusions.
A question was raised as to whether there would be a new publication that included the newly demarcated municipal areas. Dr Orkin stated that the new census would include the changes made by demarcation.
The committee voted to accept Vote 30 and Vote 31 of the Budget. Vote 30 dealt with State Expenditure, and Vote 31 with Statistics South Africa.
After the vote was taken, Mr Durr (ACDP) and Mr Krumbock (DP) noted that only four of the provinces were present, and not the required five which would constitute a quorum. After some discussion, it was decided that the committee would agree in principle to the vote, but would withhold accepting the report until it had been determined whether the committee had voted legally. The Chair, Ms D Mahlangu, stated she would seek clarification on the procedure of voting, and if necessary a new vote will be taken at the next meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
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