ATC131101: The 2013 Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report of the Standing Committee on Finance on Statistics South Africa, dated 30 October 2013

Finance Standing Committee

The 2013 Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report of the Standing Committee on Finance on Statistics South Africa, dated 30 October 2013

The Standing Committee on Finance, having assessed the performance of Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) for the 2012/13 financial year, reports as follows:

1. Introduction

In terms of section 5(2) of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act No. 9 of 2009, committees must annually submit budgetary review and recommendation reports for tabling in the National Assembly for each department. A budgetary review and recommendation report must provide an assessment of a department’s service delivery performance given available resources, an assessment on the effectiveness and efficiency of a department’s use and forward allocation of available resources, and it may include recommendations on the forward use of resources.

2. The Mandate and Role of the Committee

The Standing Committee on Finance was established in terms of section 4(1) of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act No. 9 of 2009. The mandate of the Committee is conferred to it by the Constitution, legislation, the standing rules or a resolution of a House, including consideration and report on the following:

  • The national macro-economic and fiscal policy;
  • Amendments to the fiscal framework, revised fiscal framework and revenue proposals and Bills;
  • Actual revenue published by the National Treasury; and
  • Any other related matter set out in the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act No. 9 of 2009.

Furthermore, the mandate encompasses the committee’s function to legislate, conduct oversight on the Executive’s actions and its entities. The Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act No. 9 of 2009 makes provisions for a procedure for this committee to amend money bills.

3. Methodology.

In complying with section 5(2) of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, Act No 9 of 2009, the Standing Committee on Finance held a meeting on the 2012/13 Annual Report of Stats SA. The Office of the Auditor-General was also invited to give input during the budget review and recommendation report process. The report therefore reflects key issues that were identified by the Committee.

4. Mandate and role of Stats SA

Stats SA is a national government department accountable to the Minister in the Presidency responsible for the National Planning Commission. The activities of the Department are regulated by the Statistics Act, which ensures independence from political interference in the production and dissemination of official statistics.

According to the Statistics Act, the purpose of official statistics is to assist organs of state, businesses, other organisations and the public in planning, decision-making, monitoring and assessment of policies.

Stats SA is also mandated to:

  • Promote coordination among statistical producers in South Africa in order to improve the quality, consistency, comparability and optimum use of official statistics and thereby avoid unnecessary duplication;
  • Provide statistical advice to organs of state; and
  • Liaise with statistical agencies of other countries and international agencies.

The aim of Stats SA is to provide relevant and accurate statistics by corresponding with internationally approved practice to inform users of the dynamics of the economy and society. It is mandated through the Statistics Act [No.6 of 1999] to coordinate statistical production among organs of the state, the private sector and any other institutions to facilitate proper planning, decision making and monitoring and evaluation of policies and projects.

Establishment of institutions such as the National Planning Commission and the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the country magnifies the importance and demand for the Department to provide even more statistics that measure government policy implementation and thus influence policy development. The demand for accurate, relevant and timeous data expands even to regional and local levels of government such as municipalities to improve services delivery [1] .

The State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2013 indicated that Census 2011 successfully outlined the progress of service delivery by reporting on various factors, such as the number of household with access to electricity. This measure (electricity) currently stands at 85 per cent, which indicates that only 15 per cent of the population is without electricity, thus the government is confident of the path ahead concerning electricity provision for SA citizens [2] .

5. Policy Priorities of the Department

The National Development Plan (NDP) in place aims to contribute in the developmental and transformation process of South Africa by providing accurate data for policy implementation to overcome social challenges such as inequality, poverty and unemployment [3] . Therefore, Stats SA is required to work with all stakeholders in the country to provide accurate, quality statistical information on economic, demographic, social and environmental factors for proper NDP implementation. The institution has identified the following strategic priorities for 2012/13. [4]

  • Expand the statistical information base by increasing its depth, breadth and geographic spread.
  • Lead the development and coordination of statistical production within the South African National Statistics System (SANSS).
  • Enhance public confidence and trust in statistics.
  • Improve productivity and service delivery.
  • Invest in the learning and growth of the organisation.
  • Promote international cooperation and participation in statistics.

6. An Overview of the Organisational Performance

The National Development Plan aim to improve social and economic welfare of South and to achieve this all kind of information should be available and easily accessible and usable. This will enable policy makers and implementers to understand our economy and society thus is able to make proper decisions. Therefore Stats SA through its six strategic objectives stipulated above came up with strategic plan targets and Annual Performance Plan targets for each programme. These strategic targets and performance targets are attainable through proper functioning of all programmes. Therefore below organisation performance will be analysed per programme. Achievements will be briefly noted, so as under performance.

6.1 Programme 1: Administration

The Administration programme manages the Department and provides overall centralised support services.

This programme’s achievement amongst others include the training of 71 staff members in project management, providing project management support to key projects including census dissemination, the ISIbalo Institute, collaborative mapping, and corporate relocation. All clusters were supported in operational planning and reporting, and monthly integrated reports were distributed to the Executive Committee (Exco) and senior management. However, the census audit (review of back-up processes) report that was to be produced was withdrawn due to concerns raised by census management which are still being investigated, and the IT strategy and structure audit was not performed because the basics were not in place yet. Also a feasibility study on transformation of the national population register into a statistical frame was not done due to structure and funding constraints. Nevertheless most targets in this programme were met.

6.2 Programme 2: Economic Statistics

The Economic Services programme produces economic statistics to meet user requirements, which are private sector, public sector or any other stakeholder. These statistics inform economic planning, monitoring and decision-making. The Programme provides accurate, relevant and timely economic statistical information through the application of internationally recognised practices. Quarterly and annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates providing information on 10 sectors of the economy as well as regular statistical releases on employment and earnings, industry and trade, and financial statistics are provided. It also provides information for inflation targeting; and on the changing cost of living by improving the measurement of price changes in the economy through the application of internationally recognised practices. This is done through the publication of monthly statistical releases on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Producer Price Index (PPI). In the period under review, the series on prices had greatly improved.

This programme achieved most of its targets, However four discussion papers that were set targets to produced, to look at the availability of water, mineral, energy and fisheries were partially met. Minerals, fisheries and environmental economic accounts documents were published. The energy document was not compiled due to the coordination challenges and in this regard the Department of Energy could not provide the needed data. Discussions with the said department are ongoing, aimed at seeking a long-term solution on data collection, its quality and protocols for dissemination..

A plan to enhance surveys on Transport Construction and communication were also partly met. Compiled report was for Transport, communication and Real estate because real estate was priorities over construction.  As part of the quality improvement programme in Economic Statistics, the division introduced a new base year for the electricity production index, the mining production index and building statistics at constant prices. In addition, 2010 weights were also implemented for the mining production index.

In addition one target was changed in the National Accounts subprogram. A discussion document on the availability of water from the water boards was replaced with environmental economic indicators for South Africa which was completed in 2013. The change was due to the unavailability of data from the Department of Water Affairs. Discussions are continuing to ensure that data is available. The change had no financial implications.

6.3 Programme 3 - Population and Social Statistics

Programme 3 produces population, demographic, labour market and social statistics in line with internationally recognised practices. These statistics inform social and economic development planning, monitoring and decision-making by providing accurate, relevant and timely statistical information through the application of internationally recognised practices. This done by publishing regular information on the labour market, vital registrations, poverty levels, living conditions, and service delivery, as well as population dynamics and demographic trends.

The Income and Expenditure Survey (IES) statistical release was released later than scheduled due to delays in the finalisation of data. A subjective report on poverty and a profile report on the IES were released four months ahead of schedule due to a strategic decision to prepare the reports using all three national poverty lines. Technical support was provided to the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute in the collection and analysis of poverty statistics, and a working partnership with the United Nations(UNICEF) was forged which resulted in capacity development opportunities for the organisation. National Treasury and the Department of Local Government were supported with data for the provincial and local government equitable share, derived from Census 2011.

However, numerous publications delayed to be published due to either delays in data processing or incorporation of information with that of Census 2011.This includes a book on African demography and the annual report on the life circumstances of South Africans and selected development indicators that will be published in 2013/14.

6.4 Programme 4 - Methodology and Standards

The Methodology and Standards sub programme provides expertise on quality and methodology for official statistics, standards for conducting surveys and a business sampling frame. It also assists to improve the comparability and accuracy of statistical information by annually reviewing and evaluating methodological compliance in survey areas and applying appropriate quality criteria, standards, classifications and procedures. It ensures the provision of accurate and reliable statistical information by drawing annual samples for all economic surveys based on a sound business sampling frame. Almost all targets in this programme were met.

Numerous innovative platforms and applications for the dissemination of census data, namely the ROAMBI and Mobi applications, have been developed, and will change the future of dissemination of statistical information. Other achievements include the compilation of a concept paper on a quality assurance framework and a preliminary paper related to small area statistics for household-based surveys.

However a report on the methodology for the master sample was not compiled as scheduled. The division waited for Census 2011 coded information. A report on the snapshot for piloting quarterly refreshment of samples was discontinued. Research that was conducted in the previous financial year concluded that it was not feasible to implement quarterly refreshment for economic statistics samples and hence, no piloting was done.

6.5 Programme 5 - Statistical Support and Informatics

This programme facilitates service delivery programmes through the use of technology in the production and use of official statistics. It promotes and provides better access to official statistics and ensures a reliable sampling frame for household surveys by updating the spatial frame and database annually. The programme also supports the production of official statistics by continuously upgrading Information Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure, and ensuring 90 per cent network availability.

Achievements in this programme include the implementation of two data protection systems and two infrastructure initiatives. Networking, file storage, email, and StatsOnline achieved 100% availability and helpdesk 89% availability during the year, which exceeded the 85% service-level standards. IT procurement also exceeded the 85% standard for two quarters of the year (95%). Procurement was put on hold for two quarters when census equipment was used for replacements. An Acceptable Use Policy was approved during the year. Moreover the publishing services subprogram had compiled and distributed a total of 269 publications. Design services were applied to 197 products and editing to 288 products. Therefore above 80 per cent of targets were met in this programme.

6.6 Programme 6 - Corporate Relations

Corporate Relations provide statistical information to support policymakers. Programme 6 manages stakeholders and interacts with international statistical agencies. It provides effective communication activities to increase awareness and the use of official statistics by maintaining and improving stakeholder relations and managing external and internal communications. Annually stakeholder workshops are conducted in all provinces to inform and consult with stakeholders on statistical matters and improving website visitor sessions through publicity campaigns and interactions with stakeholders. It also provides an integrated data collection service that ensures timeliness and accuracy, and disseminates quality statistics through statistical technical support services to provincial and local stakeholders. The programme ensures alignment with international standards, best practice and statistical skills development by increasing participation, sharing and learning in international statistical initiatives on an on-going basis.

Corporate Relations developed  and implemented a communication, publicity and advocacy strategy; It handed over the results of Census 2011 to the President of South Africa; developed a coffee table style gift book of Census 2011 results; trained more than 100 media staff across the country on the use of census products; meeting with key stakeholders such as the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) and the South African Editors Forum (SANEF); developed new informative and educational census products; and hosted media lock-ups in four provinces on the day of the release with interactive link-ups allowing the media to ask questions. Stats SA produced of 236 StatsToday and 11 Pulse publications. A total of 14 press conferences were held and included Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), GDP, CPI, PPI, Victims of Crime Survey (VOCS), and Census 2011 discussions. However, a progress report on the implementation of the Statistics Charter was not compiled. The document is awaiting a parliamentary response for the ratification of the Charter. Also the review of the African Statistical Peer Support Framework and the compilation of an international events calendar were not achieved due to human resource constraints.

6.7 Programme 7 - Survey Operations

This programme provides collection and processing support to produce official statistics. The programme also aims to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of survey operations by coordinating and integrating household survey operations (quarterly labour force survey, the general household survey and the income and expenditure survey) annually. This program strives to improve the quality of editing and processing data by standardising and optimising the use of technology (such as scanning and handheld devices) annually.

Survey Operations appointed 2 123 data processors working in three shifts per day. A total of 15 834 316 Census 2011 questionnaires were scanned and processed over a period of eight months. Coordination of the collection of questionnaires for the QLFS (131 280), GHS (31 942), DTS (31 560), and LCS (500 households and 2 493 instruments) were properly done. Primary Sampling Units (PSUs) were maintained on a quarterly basis. However The Victims of Crimes Survey (VOCS) were delayed due to the introduction of the new data collection methodology and new and improved collection methodologies are continuously researched in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of survey operations. In total this programme performed well.

7. An Overview of the Financial Performance

7.1 Budget and Expenditure Analysis for 2012/13

At the end of 2012/13 Stats SA spend R1.761 billion from its budget of the same amount resulting to the department not having any over or under expenditure. The figure below demonstrates the expenditure trend for the past 4 financial years. It is evident that in 2011/12 Stats SA expenditure was at a high of R3.674 billion due to the Census 2011. [5]

Figure 1: Total Expenditure (Rbn)

Source: Stats SA, 2013

Stats SA main appropriation for financial year 2012/13 was R1.721 billion. During the adjustment period in 2012/13 this budget increased to R1.761 billion. Statistics South Africa received R12.3 million additional allocations and applied for R27.7 million roll-overs. All the programmes received additional allocations as reflected in the table below for higher personnel increases than the main budget provided for. Rolled-over of R27.7 million was to pay for outstanding invoices related to Census 2011. [6]

Table: Adjustments in financial year 2012/13

Programme R'000

Main Appropriation 2012/13


Virements and shifts

Other adjustments

Adjusted appropriation


1. Administration

444 519

10 304

2 224

457 047

2.Economic Statistics

213 945

(5 437)

2 287

210 795

3.Population and Social Statistics

122 002

(12 637)


110 284

4.Methodology and Standards

80 215

(9 175)


71 594

5. Statistical Support and Informatics

200 313

(13 584)


187 469

6. Corporate Relations

454 614

6 167

4 292

465 073

7.Survey Operations

205 996

27 701

24 362

1 331

259 390


1 721 604

27 701


12 347

1 761 652

Source: National Treasury, 2013

7.2 Expenditure per Economic Classifications

Compensation of Employees expenditure at the end of the financial year was R1.074 billion from the budget of R1.091 billion. This resulted to an under expenditure of R16.6 million due to the department difficulty in recruiting expertise skills in some areas. [7]

Goods and services expenditure was R596.2 million from the final budget of R607 million .G&S has under spend by R11 million due to invoices that have not been received from software licenses service providers under programme 5:Statistical support and informatics. Economic classification items such as communication, stationary and printing, as well as travel and subsistence  also underspend on their budgets, thus contributed in the overall G&S under expenditure of R11 million. [8]

Transfers and subsidies spent R21.6 million from the budget of R16.7 million, therefore overspend by R4.9 million. This over expenditure resulted from Programme 7: Survey operation due to leave gratuities paid to contract workers who were employed for processing and dissemination of Census 2011 results.

Furthermore programme 6: Corporate relations also paid leave gratuity, hence Transfers and subsidies overspend by R4.9 million. [9]

Table 3: Economic classifications expenditure as at the end of 2012/2013

Economic classifications R'000

Final Appropriation

Expenditure amount

% expenditure end of 2012/13 financial year

(Over)/under expenditure

Compensation of employees

1 091 564

1 074 909


16 655

Goods and services

607 256

596 248


11 008

Transfers and subsidies

16 686

21 571


-4 885

Payments for capital Assets

38 787

35 383


3 404

Payments for Financial Assets

5 836

32 303


-26 467


1 523

1 238




1 761 652

1 761 652



Source: National Treasury, 2013

Payments for Capital Assets spent R35.4 million from the budget of R38.8 million thus underspent by R3.4 million. Programme 5: Statistic Support and informatics contributed in this under expenditure because the department needs exercise determined that a saving should be done in this Item under this programme 5. Payment for Financial Assets spent R32.3 million from the budget of R5.8 million, resulting of an extreme over expenditure of R26.4 million. [10]

At the end of the financial year Economic classification items under and over expenditure cancelled each other, resulting to an overall breakeven point.

7.3 Expenditure at end of 2012/13 per Programme

At the end of 2012/13 Stats SA has spent 100 per cent of their budget of R1.761billion. This department main budget been R1.721 and it increased to 1.761 over the adjustment period. Some programmes under/over spend against the adjusted budget before the final shifts at the end of the year. However during that process funds were moved around within the vote, thus, resulting to the 100 per cent expenditure. [11]

Table 2: Expenditure at the end of 2012/13 financial year per programme

Vote 13:Stats SA


Budget Allocation

Final Appropriations after virements

End of 2012/2013 expenditure

% expenditure

Programme 1: Administration

444 519

464 881

464 881


Programme 2: Economic Statistics

213 945

198 463

198 463


Programme 3: Population and Social Statistics

122 002

101 465

101 465


Programme 4: Methodology and Standards

80 215

67 445

67 445


Programme 5: Statistics Support and informatics

200 313

180 412

180 412


Programme 6: Corporate Relations

454 614

466 562

466 562


Programme 7: Survey Operations

205 996

282 424

282 424



1 721 604

1 761 652

1 761 652


Source: National Treasury, 2013

Programme 1: Administration spent 100 per cent of its budget of R464 million. However it should be noted that before the final virements which changed the adjusted appropriation of R457 million (Table 1) the department has over spent by R7.8 million in this programme. This over spending was due to higher spending on sub-programme Office accommodation, as a result of increases in accommodation cost. [12]

Programme 2: Economic Statistics has spent 100 per cent from the budget of R198 million. However this programme under spent by R12.3 million against its adjusted budget of R210 million, due to difficulties in filling vacant post. This affected goods and services items and as a resulted this R12.3 million was shifted to other programmes which had pressures. [13]

Programme 3: Population and Social Statistics was 100 per cent of the R101 million budgets. These programmes also underspend its budget against the adjusted budget by R8.7 million. The under expenditure resulted from non-filling of funded vacant post, thus resulted to compensation of employees and goods and services under this programme under spending. These funds were also shifted to other programmes which were overspending. [14]

Programme 4: Methodology and Standards expenditure at the end 201/13 was R67.4 million, which is 100 per cent of the programme budget. This programme also underspent against its adjusted budget by R4.3 million. The under expenditure from CoE and G&S stemmed from items such as travel and subsistence and communication. This amount of R4.3 million was shifted to other programmes with budget pressures. [15]

Programme 5, Statistical Informatics and Support spent R180.4 million which is 100 per cent from the budget of R180.4 million. The department had an under spending of R7.1 million, against the adjusted appropriation of R187.5 million in this programme. The under spending was mainly from goods and services, in  computer services line item, mainly due to outstanding invoices for software licenses. Unspent funds in this programme were also shifted other programmes within the vote. [16]

Programme 6, Corporate Relations expenditure was 100 per cent from the budget of R466.6 million. The department had an insignificant over spending of R1.5 million or 0.3 per cent against the adjusted appropriation of R465.1 million in this programme before the final adjustments. The over spending was from compensation of employees resulting from an inadequate budget allocated on this programme. Unspent funds from other programmes within the vote were shifted to this vote to fund the shortfall. [17]

Programme 7, Survey Operations: expenditure was R282.4 million, 100 per cent of the available budget of R282.4 million. As in discussion on other programmes above, this programme was experiencing an over spending of R23 million against its adjusted appropriation of R259.4 million before the final virements were implemented. The over spending is mainly related to the processing and dissemination of the Census 2011 data, as a result of higher than planned expenditure due to the department’s decision in bringing forward the release date of the results from February 2013 to November 2012. This decision had a significant impact on goods and services items such as advertising, consultants: advisory service, travel and subsistence and venues and facilities, as the main cost drivers for the project. [18]

8. Auditor General 2012/13 audit opinion

Stats SA received an unqualified audit opinion from the AG.

8.1 Matters of emphasis on AG report

•       Prepayments and advances as disclosed in the 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 statement of financial position, include an amount of R7,762 million in respect of services procured and paid for by a service organisation on behalf of Stats SA. An investigation has been completed, but the matter has still not been resolved as some of the findings are still being interrogated by both parties.

•       Material losses to the amount of R31,942 million were reported by the department as a result of a write-off of irrecoverable damages and losses to government and hired vehicles.

8.2 PFMA audit outcomes for the 2012/13 financial year

8.2 .1 Fruitless and wasteful expenditure

The value of fruitless and wasteful expenditure cases to be investigated as at the beginning of the financial year was R647 000. The value of new cases for the financial year is R6,710 million. Cases condoned amounted to R1,932 million, and a further R21 000 was transferred to receivables for recovery. Recommendations have been made and processes improved to address the root causes with a view of minimising future occurrences.

8.2.2 Irregular expenditure

The opening balance of irregular expenditure was R8,847 million. This was adjusted (reduced) by R51 000 in respect of cases that were found not to be irregular after thorough investigation. Irregular expenditure recorded during the year amounts to R139 000 and relates to non-compliance with SCM procedures. Irregular expenditure to the value of R1,786 million was condoned during the year. An amount of R860,24 million was recovered. The balance for irregular expenditure at the close of the financial year was R7,148 million. These cases are being investigated.

8.2.3 Investigations

The 2011/12 audit report referred to a payment of R35,77 million that was included in goods and services procured through the SCM processes which could not be confirmed by the AGSA. The Accountant-General investigate the matter and this investigation is currently on-going. [19]

9. Other Findings

9. 1 Human Resources

Stats SA Enhanced capacity building programmes and enhanced collaboration with institutions of higher learning through memoranda of understanding (MoUs).Stats also Reduction of vacancy rate from 13 per cent in 2011/12 to 10 per cent in 20125/13. However it had challenges in lacking scarce skills in the core areas and achievement of employment equity targets especially recruiting people with disabilities.

9.2 Supply Chain Management

Due to fiscal pressure during the 2012/13, the organisation has put in place a Finance Control Committee that was responsible for approving and monitoring expenditure on a daily basis. Payments to suppliers within 30 days improved from 75% at the end of 2011/12 to 100% at the end of 2012/13.

10. Financial performance for 2013/14 financial year

10.1 Performance for 2013/14 first quarter

For the current financial year StatsSA has a main budget of R1.723 billion (excluding Transfers and subsidies) divided among the 7 programmes. Administration has the largest portion from the main budget of R478 million followed by programme 6: Corporate Relations by R471 million. In the first quarter of 2013/14 the department has spent 23 per cent or 398 million from its operational budget. Programme 5: Statistical support and informatics is leading with 27.5 per cent expenditure from its budget of R204 million, followed by Administration that has spent 24 per cent. [20]

Table: Stats SA expenditure at the end of 2013/14 first quarter per programme [21]

Vote 13:Stats SA (Operational budget)

Main Appropriation

First quarter Expenditure amount

expenditure %

R million

Programme 1: Administration




Programme 2: Economic Statistics




Programme 3: Population and Social Statistics




Programme 4: Methodology and Standards




Programme 5: Statistics Support and informatics




Programme 6: Corporate Relations




Programme 7: Survey Operations





1 723



Source: National Treasury, 2013

Economic classifications expenditure in current financial year is 1.737 billion, payments for capital assets and goods and services are leading by 33 per cent and 23 per cent respectively. Except for payments for capital assets all other economic classifications have spent below the branch mark of 25 per cent. [22]

Table: Economic classification expenditure at end of 2013/14 first quarter [23]

Economic classifications

Main Appropriation

Expenditure amount

expenditure %

Compensation Of Employees




Goods and services




Interest And Rent On Land




Total transfers and subsidies




Payments for capital assets




Payments For Financial Assets








Source: National Treasury, 2013

For the financial year 2013/14 the department is spending partially well, even though it did not spend 25 per cent of its budget for the quarter. Transfers are at 13 per cent, while Goods and services expenditure is at 23.9 per cent. [24]

11. Deliberations

Following the interaction with the Statistics South Africa, the Standing Committee on Finance required clarity on the following matters:

  • The insurance provision amount of R32 million as disclosed on the Financial Statements, members also required an update on the investigation of R35.7 million mentioned above.

  • As some targets were not met because of capacity constraints, more details were needed on staff establishment, skill retention strategy and the use of consultancies.

  • More information and clarity was required on recruitment process, the quality of Census 2011 and de-centralisation of statistics offices in provinces.

  • The Committee noted that it had not been invited to the launch of the 2011 Census results. The Committee then asked the Stats SA to elaborate more on 2011 census results, the reports on non-compliance with PFMA, and its leadership
  • The Committee wanted to know the extent which Stats SA going to go in providing Population development, youth unemployment information. Members also questioned the accurateness of population and social statistics, and the engagement between Stats SA and civil society.

  • The Committee wanted clarity on the decline of money for goods and services, specifically in Advertising that declined from R161 million to R12 million and Communication from R53 million to R41 million. The Committee also asked why the entertainment budget was so high, it increased from R88 million to R158 million.

12. Responses by Stats SA

With regard to questions raised and comments made by the Standing Committee on Finance, the Stats SA responded/commented as follows:

  • Stats SA noted that the insurance regulations by National Treasury allowed it to spend up to R200 000, but in future the institution would be looking into its insurance policy and seeing how it could be reviewed. It was noted also that Stats SA did not comply with PFMA because of issues raised in the disclosure notes. Consultants are basically Numerators that collect information for the department, they are not employed on permanent bases, which are the reason they are classified as consultants.

  • Stats SA had got good leadership in place, but the finance and statistics skills were rare in the country. The systems for staff establishments that Stats SA had put in place had not worked so well, but it would be working to improve these systems.

  • Stats SA had implemented policies to try to deal with the skills issues and was trying to have a full complement of talent. There is a staff retention plan was focusing specifically on scarce talent and skills. Stats SA would continue to look for people with good mathematics and statistics results. It would continue shadowing students across the country to monitor how they performed in mathematics, science and accounting subjects.
  • Stats SA views access to information by the public as a very important point, therefore it would make sure that the public had full access to the information that it collects, through improving dissemination channels. Even though, Stats SA did not release the Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) results, but MPAT was very important for the work Stats SA was doing, thus in future they will look on releasing MPAT.
  • The 2011 census results were satisfactory, and the whole process and results were open. Stats SA did not understand why the media criticized the census results so highly, but this implied that the academics and qualified people did not do the good work. However, Stats SA conceded that perhaps Stats SA had not done enough when it had been compiling the report, and in future, there should be a forum of discussion and consultation.

  • Stats SA will submit a written response within two (2) days on the Goods and Services questions.

13. Conclusion and Recommendations

Based on the deliberations with Statistics South Africa, the Standing Committee on Finance recommends that the Minister in the Presidency: National Planning Commission should ensure the following:

13.1 Stats SA should make sure that it releases the MPAT for 2013/14.

13.2 Stats SA should submit a strategy report to the House on how it will source and retain scarce skills it requires for optimal performance, this report should be submitted within 90 days of the adoption of this report by the House.

13.3 Stats SA should increase the usage of information they collect, to reach out more to the people on the ground. Their ICT platforms should be able to reach all users in the country.

13.4 Stats SA should provide the House with a detailed report with regards to the R32 million spent on insurance, this report should be submitted to the House within 90 days of the adoption of this report by the House.

13.5 Stats SA should provide the House with a detailed report regarding the investigation into the R35.7 million expenditure on goods and services incurred in 2011/12, and highlight whether or not the appropriate supply chain management process was followed in approving this expenditure.  This report should be submitted within 90 days of the adoption of this report by the House.

13.6 Stats SA should provide the House with a detailed report explaining the R6.7 million in fruitless and wasteful expenditure incurred over the 2012/13 financial year and its plan to prevent such expenditure in the future.   This report should be submitted within 90 days of the adoption of this report by the House.

Report to be considered.

[1] Statistics South Africa (2012).

[2] Zuma ( 2013).

[3] The Presidency ( 2013).

[4] Statistics SA Annual Report (2013).

[5] Ibid.

[6] National Treasury 2013.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] National Treasury 2013.

[10] Ibid.

[11] National Treasury 2013.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] National Treasury 2013.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

[20] National Treasury 2013.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid.

[23] National Treasury 2013.

[24] Ibid.


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