ATC200605: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration on the Strategic Plan 2019/20—2023/24, Annual Performance Plans (Apps) 2020/21 and the Budget Vote 14 of the Statistics South Africa, Dated 27 May

Public Service and Administration, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION ON THE STRATEGIC PLAN 2019/20—2023/24, ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLANS (APPS) 2020/21 AND THE BUDGET VOTE 14 OF THE STATISTICS SOUTH AFRICA, DATED  27 MAY

 

  1. BACKGROUND

The Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration (hereinafter referred to as the Portfolio Committee) having considered the directive of the National Assembly to consider and report on the Strategic Plans, Annual Performance Plans and Budget allocations of the Statistics South Africa tabled by the Minister in the Presidencyfor Planning Monitoring and Evaluation in terms of the Public Finance Management Act (Act No 32 of 2003), reports as follows:

  1. INTRODUCTION

Parliament plays an important role in overseeing planning and performance of government departments and public entities as well as Chapter 9 and 10 institutions. The Public Finance Management Act, section 27 stipulates that the Minister must table the annual budget for a financial year in the National Assembly before the start of the financial year. Subsequent to that the Money Bills Amendment Procedures and Related Matters Act, No 9 of 2009, section 10 (1) (c) clearly stipulates that the relevant members of Cabinet must table updated strategic plan and annual performance plan for each department, public entity or institution, which must be referred to the relevant Committee for consideration and reporting.

In considering the strategic and annual performance plan, the Committee ensured that Statistics South Africa plans and budget allocation serve the needs and aspirations of the statistics users. Budget allocation serves as a key instrument for government to promote socio-economic development. Budget allocation plays a critical role as an economic instrument of the government to reflect on the country’s socio-economic policy priorities by translating priorities and political commitments into expenditures. Budget serves as a vital tool to operationalise government activities towards the achievement of its intended priorities. Furthermore, the budget highlights the constraints and trade-offs in policy choices.

On 08th May 2020, the Committee considered presentation on the Strategic and Annual Performance Plans and budget allocation of Statistics South Africa (Stats SA). This report summarises the presentation received from the Stats SA, focusing on the 2019/24 Strategic Plan and 2020/21 Annual Performance Plan and Budget, as well as allocations over the MTEF.

 

  1. OVERVIEW OF THE STATISTICS SOUTH AFRICA

The main responsibility of Stats SA is to provide relevant and accurate statistics by using internationally approved practice to inform users of the dynamics of the economy and society. Stats SA is mandated through the Statistics Act [No.6 of 1999] to coordinate statistical production from organs of state, the private sector and other institutions to facilitate proper planning, decision making and monitoring and evaluation of policies and projects. Stats SA is guided by the 10 fundamental principles of official statistics of the United Nations, as well as the 6 principles adopted by the African Union in carrying out its function.

Statistics South Africa releases over 250 surveys on a yearly basis on employment, labour, poverty and other socio-economic statistics. Statistics aimed at providing evidence-based information to policymakers, private sector, academics and non-governmental organisations as well as planners across all spheres of government. Stats SA is committed to using scarce resources to deliver quality basic statistics as it invests and strengthens partnership with various stakeholders within the data ecosystem. In the sixth administration of Government, Stats SA will be fully engaged with the following crucial statistical work:

  • Finalisation of legislative reforms.
  • Release of the results of the National Household Travel Survey.
  • Release of the Census of Commercial Agriculture.
  • Preparations for Census 2021 (conducting the pilot census) – as baseline information the country needs and the master sample that Stats SA needs to advise other research entities in South Africa; and
  • The Income and Expenditure Household Survey to be conducted in 2020/21. This is a critical survey to measure and understand poverty and inequality in South Africa.
  1. NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN VISION 2030

The National Development Plan highlights the need for South Africa to build a State that is capable of playing a developmental and transformative role. This requires the State to formulate and implement policies that support that role. The NDP and the Medium Term Strategic Framework are informed by statistical information provided by Statistics South Africa, which publishes more than 250 statistical releases per annum. The publications present statistical research that measures the development and transformation of the economy and society in a range of contexts.

Changing economic and societal realities have expanded the demand for statistical information: more detailed statistics are needed and more frequently if policies are to be responsive and effective. Statistics in the public domain must be of high quality. Responding to the increased demand for high quality statistics will require a national effort, and collaboration and partnerships between the producers and the users of statistics.

 

  1. LEGISLATIVE MANDATE

Statistics South Africa is a national government department accountable to the Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation. Stats SA has a separate budget vote from the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation(DPME). The activities of the department are regulated by the Statistics Act (Act No.6 of 1999), 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, and monitoring or assessment of policies.

The Act makes provision for the appointment of a Statistician-General (SG) whose role in statistical production in the country is as follows:Firstly, as the National Statistical Authority to inform stakeholders on the economy and society by:

  • Collecting, compiling and disseminating a wide range of economic, social and population statistics.
  • Developing and maintaining database for national statistics on businesses and enumeration areas; and
  • Liaising with other countries and statistical agencies as well as representing Stats SA and South Africa in statistical activities internationally.

Secondly, as the National Statistical Coordinator, to promote coordination among producers of official and other statistics in order to advance quality, comparability and optimum use of official statistics and to avoid duplication by:

  • Formulating quality criteria and establishing standards, classifications and procedures.
  • Providing statistical advice; and
  • Promoting a public culture of measurement.

 

  1. Strategic goals of the Statistics South Africa

In order to be responsive to the attainment of the NDP priorities over the period 2020/21-2024/25, an NDP 5-year Implementation Plan and a more focused Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) 2019/24 have been developed by the Presidency as announced by the President in the State of Nation Address, outlines the following strategic goals:

  • Economic transformation and job creation.
  • Education, skills and health.
  • Consolidating social wage through reliable and quality basic services.
  • Spatial integration, human settlements and local government.
  • Social cohesion and safe communities.
  • A capable, ethical and developmental state.
  • A better Africa and a better world.

Key priorities for 2020/21 financial year are outlined below:

  • Driving legislative reform.
  • Sustaining the quality of national indicators.
  • Modernising the statistical value chain.
  • Leading a transformation and change agenda.
  • Rolling out the integrated indicator framework.
  • Conducting Census 2021 pilot project.

 

  1. BUDGET ALLOCATION

The budget allocated for the Statistics South Africa in 2020/21 financial year was R3 452.2 billion as compared to the allocated budget of R2 514.4 billion in 2019/20 financial year. The expenditure is projected to increase from R1.5 billion in 2019/20 to R1.8 billion in 2022/23 at an average annual rate of 7.2 per cent, as a result of an additional allocation of R105 million and a reprioritisation of R49.4 million to address the historic shortfall in the budget for compensation of employees. Stats SA is expected to account for approximately 27.5 per cent (R3.1 billion) of the department’s total budget over the MTEF period. The production of statistics depends solely on skilled and well capacitated personnel, therefore expenditure on the compensation of an average of 2 812 employees is expected to account for 48.3 per cent (R5.1 billion) over the medium term period.

Over the MTEF period, the department has a total budget of R10.7 billion, of which R7.5 billion is earmarked for operational expenditure and R3.2 billion for spending related to Census 2021. Census is expected to drive an increase in spending at an average annual rate of 29.3 per cent, from R2.3 billion in 2018/19 to R4.9 billion in 2021/22. Spending on compensation of employees is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 5.6 per cent, from R1.4 billion in 2018/19 to R1.7 billion in 2021/22.

Over the medium term, the department will focus on modernising its operating model, strengthening statistical reform, and preparing for and conducting the national population census in 2021. During 2020/21 financial year, Stats SA intends to improve data collection and analysis and turnaround times for processing and release of data by migrating from paper-based to digital data collection over the medium term.

 

 

Table 1: Budget per programme

Programme R'000

Revised

Estimates

2019/20

Medium Term Expenditure Estimates

2020/21

2021/22

2022/23

1. Administration

682.1

675.6

693.8

753.7

2.Economic Statistics

277.8

282.1

326.1

344.4

3. Population and Social Statistics

176.3

276.0

176.9

235.1

4. Methodology, Standard and Research

83.5

162.0

198.2

209.0

5. Statistical Support and Informatics

283.9

283.5

301.3

324.1

  1. Statistical Operations and Provincial Coordination

700.2

1 729.5

3 102.0

948.5

  1. South African National Statistics System

310.0

43.4

45.7

47.6

Total

 2 514.4

3 452.2

4 843.9

2 862.6

Estimates of National Expenditure 2020

 

  1. PROGRAMME PERFORMANCE

Statistics South Africa has seven programmes, which are as follows:

7.1 Programme 1: Administration

The purpose of the programme is to provide strategic leadership, management and services to the department. The Administration programme has four sub-programmes, which are as follows namely, Department Management, Corporate Services, Financial Management Services, Internal Audit and Office Accommodation. The strategic intention of the programme is focused on driving the outcome of transformed capability. The programme will align itself to the strategy of digitisation through automation of processes. The provision of support to projects, including the Census 2021 project, will utilise all facets of automated processes. A cost-effective strategy to reduce the major cost driver in surveys which, apart from the compensation of employees is the utilisation of vehicles, will be explored.      

Stats SA will transform and change agenda to facilitate and drive the culture and organisational change required to implement the new strategic direction. The implementation of the revised structure and relocation of staff to critical areas will be rolled out in 2020/21. An alternative funding model will be explored through research.

The programme received budget allocation of R675.6 million as compared to R682.1 million in 2019/20 financial year which intends to provide strategic direction, leadership, management and support services to the department. The spending focus over the medium term continues to focus on the number of priority projects supported in accordance with Stats SA’s project management framework, research to enhance management information repository, support Census 2021 pilot with human resource, develop logistic and fleet management plan for Census 2021 and develop an internal audit plan for Census 2021.    

 

 

7.2 Programme 2: Economic Statistics

Economics Statistics programme aims to produce economic statistics to inform evidence-based economic development and transformation in line with internationally recognised practices. Programme Management for Economic Statistics provides strategic direction and leadership. There are six sub-programmes, which are as follows: Business Cycle Indicators, Structural Industry Statistics, Price Statistics, Private Sector Financial Statistics, Government Financial Statistics and National Accounts.

The objectives of the programme is to produce economic indicators to inform evidence-based planning, monitoring, evaluation and decision making for use by the public and private sectors by publishing monthly, quarterly, annual and periodic statistical releases on various industries in the private and public sectors.

Programme 2 has been allocated budget of R282.1 million for 2020/21 financial year. The main cost driver isCompensation of Employees and collection of questionnaires. The strategic intention of the programme is focused mainly on driving the outcome of providing insightful data and providing a range of statistics that describe the dynamics of the economy as well as its links to job creation, economic growth, the environment and society.

Stats SA will over the medium term publish 150 monthly, quarterly and annual industry and trade statistics. Under Programme 2, the following reports will be published over the medium term, five reports on 2018 trade industry, 2018 personal services survey, one annual commercial agriculture, fisheries and forestry statistics. Furthermore, Stats SA will publish 12 monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) releases, 36 monthlyProducer Price Index(PPI) releases, one PPI updated weights and product list. 

Stats SA will further publish five quarterly and annual Private Sector Financial Statistics, one Capital Expenditure Survey discussion document, seven quarterly and annual Government Financial Statistics, four quarterly releases on Financial Statistics of Municipalities and one annual release on the Non-financial Census of Municipalities. In addition to the strategic outcome of insightful data, Stats SA intends to publish four Gross Domestic Product releases, one research report on reviewing and improving data sources, one report on Tourism Satellite Accounts and Environment Economic Accounts (EEA) statistics. 

 

  1. Programme 3: Population and Social Statistics

The purpose of the Programme is to produce population, demographic, labour market and social statistics to inform socio-economic development. Population and social statistics inform evidence based socio-economic development and transformation in line with internationally recognised practices. Programme 3 contributes to strategic objective to sustain national population and social indicators to inform evidence-based planning, monitoring and decision-making for use by the public and private sector through publishing numerous series such as labour market and employment surveys.

The outputs produced under this Programme contribute immensely towards the monitoring of the MTSF 2020-2024, the National Development Plan goals and indicators, Agenda 2063 as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.

Programme 3 has been allocated budget of R276.0 million in the 2020/21 financial year. The expenditure on the budget will be incurred by continuing to sustain the quality of key national indicators and to increase responsiveness to users’ basic statistical needs and demands by collecting and analysing data across a range of themes. Stats SA will be embarking on the process of reviewing the content of the questionnaires of these surveys as well as the survey methodology. One of the outcomes of this process is the introduction of a modular approach, where a rotational system of in-depth service delivery modules will be developed and implemented at regular intervals as part of a continuous population survey. 

Continuous collection is expected to better capture seasonality in the data and to provide more opportunities for quality assurance. The Continuous Population Survey (CPS) will integrate three current survey instruments- the General Household Survey (GHS) and Income and Expenditure Survey (IES) and will provide an integrated tool for the collection of living conditions, life circumstances and poverty data. This survey will create a more agile and cost effective operating model for survey data collection, as it would provide a broad platform to cover a range of thematic areas on a regular basis.

Stats SA intends to embark on extensive skilling and reskilling in data analytics and related capabilities in order to meet the requirement of the new data ecosystem. This target is aimed at investing in building a diverse skilled and versatile workforce to embrace innovative solutions such as data collection through digitisation. This will create a cadre of analytical capability to drive value in the data ecosystem.   

  1. Programme 4: Methodology and Statistical Infrastructure

The purpose of the Programme is to set standards, statistical frames, methodologies and conduct statistical research. The main objective of the Programme is to improve the quality and methodological soundness of statistical information by researching, developing, reviewing and applying statistical methods, standards, classification and procedures in the statistical value chain annually. The Programme further monitors and evaluates the methodological compliance of statistical operations by conducting independent evaluations on statistical practices annually. In addition, it ensures complete and accurate sampling frames to enhance the quality of economic and social statistics by maintaining and updating frames for business and geographic information annually.

 

Programme 4 was allocated budget of R162.0 million in 2020/21 financial year. The cost driver under this Programme is Compensation of Employees, Data Costs and Training Costs.  The Programme contributes towards achieving the organisational strategic outcomes of an agile operating model and interconnected statistical systems. Statistical data are enablers of achieving uniformity, consistency, comparability, integration and ultimately data sharing and thus increased use of statistical products. Standards are a precondition for production of good quality statistics. The Programme has to ensure availability and use of relevant statistical standards and classifications for Stats SA and SANSS programme.

The Programme provides technical expertise on methodologies for producing official and other statistics and review surveys as to their methodological compliance and alignment with international frameworks and practices to render quality statistics able to inform debate, research and decision-making. The transition of statistical production processes from manual systems to digital platforms requires the programme to upskill and re-skill its personnel to ensure that they provide the relevant and necessary support to production systems.      

7.5Programme 5: Statistical Support and Informatics

This Programme enables service delivery programmes by using technology in the production and use of official statistics. The main objective is to modernise business processes by building enterprise architecture and applying emerging technologies for data collection, processing and the dissemination of statistical information over the medium term. The Programme further aims to enable the department’s production of official statistics by providing a technology infrastructure that is reliable, sustainable and cost effective over the medium termto inform policy through the use of statistical geography.

The Programme promotes and provides better access to official statistics. The Programme contributes to enhancing public confidence and trust in statistics and investing in the learning and growth of the organisation. Moreover, the Programme collaborates with partners to build and maintain a reliable sampling frame for household surveys by updating the spatial information frame annually. In addition, it increases awareness of and the use of official statistics by government and the public on an ongoing basis by reaching out to stakeholders and responding to user queries, educating users and improving accessibility to and the ease of use of statistical information.

The Statistical Support and Informatics Programme received an allocation of R283.5 million to enable service delivery programmes by using technology in the production and use of official statistics. Key outputs to achieve in this financial yearincludethe implementation of the branding strategy, which aims to place stakeholders at the centre of operations by delivering products and services that are in line with user requirements. The Programme provides the technology backbone in the form of an enterprise architecture that is able to anticipate growing demand and will have the foresight to increase capacity when required and to scale down to save costs based on system requirements.    

7.6 Programme 6: Statistical Operations and Provincial Coordination

The purpose of the Programme is to collect and process data and interact with stakeholders and users at provincial and local levels to inform policy implementation and support decision-making through statistical information. It engages stakeholders through platforms and provides effective communication services.

The main objective is to provide integrated data collection services, and disseminate quality statistics to provincial and local stakeholders and the public by ensuring an average response rate of 85 per cent annually. Another objective is to expand the statistical information base for use by government, the private sector and the public by conducting a population census every 10 years, and large-scale population surveys every five years between censuses.It further ensures the efficiency and effectiveness of survey operations by coordinating household surveys to attain an average response rate of 85 per cent annually. The Programmeimproves the quality and timeliness of the editing and processing of statistical data by administering a common data processing platform for censuses, household surveys, administrative records and ad hoc survey data over the medium term.

The Statistical Operations and Provincial Coordination programme received an allocation of R1 729.5 billion to execute its core mandate of collecting and processing data, and interacting with stakeholders and users at provincial and local levels. Key strategic priority and output in this Programme is to pilot the census in October 2020 and conduct population census in October 2021. The statistical outputs of the census form the baseline of the statistical information system in the country and provides the most comprehensive statistics at the lowest geographic level to provide insights on various socio-economic phenomena. This Programme’s contribution is to drive agile statistical household operations at national, provincial and local levels by employing multimode data collection methodologies that are technology driven.   

7.7 Programme 7: South African National Statistics System

The purpose of the Programme is to develop and coordinate the national system in South Africa. The objective of the Programme is to ensure that national statistics are produced based on common statistical standards and principles by providing statistical support and advice on an ongoing basis, and certifying statistics as official annually. It manages the distribution of statistical information by establishing and providing mechanisms, platforms and criteria for sharing data annually. It drives statistical reporting by coordinating the compilation of statistical reports in line with the integrated indicator framework annually.

The South African National Statistics System programme received a budget allocation of R43.4 million to develop and coordinate the national system in South Africa. The statistics system is composed of entities of the National Statistics System (NSS), which must subscribe to governance and ethical principles for all producers of statistics. Additionally, insofar as production activities are concerned, all entities of the NSS subscribe to standards and frameworks as directed by the Statistician-General under the mandate of the Statistics Act.

The Programme will fully develop an Integrated Indicator Framework (IIF). The IIF is a tool to promote coordination among producers of official and other statistics in order to advance quality, comparability and optimum use of official statistics. It is also a key contributor to the achievement of the interconnected statistics system. Once fully developed, the IIF will be able to ascertain what the information gap is in the statistics system.

The development and implementation of the National Strategy for Development of Statistics (NSDS) will build capacity and strengthen coordination amongst entities of the NSS. Through the NSDS, NSS entities will be able to set up statistical units and compile annual statistical plans informed by the IIF. All data that will be used to report on the IIF will be taken through a quality assessment process using the South African Statistical Quality Assessment Framework (SASQAF).   

 

 

 

  1. OBSERVATION AND KEY FINDINGS

The Portfolio Committee observed the following matters in relation to the Budget Vote 14 of Statistics South Africa:

  1. The Committee noted and considered Statistics South AfricaStrategic Plan (2019-2024) and Annual Performance Plan for 2020/21financial year. The Committee welcomed the tabled strategic and annual performance plans as itencompasses and fulfil the mandate of Stats SA. However, the Committee was concerned about attainments of targets in 2020/21 financial year due to disruption by COVID-19 and the lockdown.

 

  1.  The Committee urged Stats SA to be innovative and optimise on scarce resources to align its business process towards digitisation.

 

  1. The Committee noted that due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in South Africa, Stats SA immediately withdrew its enumerators (fieldworkers) from collecting data as a way to protect officials from the virus.Fieldworkers are working from home to administer online surveysdue to coronavirus.

 

  1. The Committee take note that Stats SA is in a process to implement revised organisational structure and reposition staff to critical areas based on their skills and capabilities. This process will include skilling and reskilling to ensure staff are well capacitated with new business processes of producing statistics through digitisation.

 

  1. The Committee noted that part of the priorities in the implementation of organisational structure is to fill funded vacant positions and ensure attainment of employment equity targets by employing 50% of women in senior management and 2% of People with Disabilities.

 

  1. The Committee was of the view that the review and implementation of revised organisational structure will reduce vacancy rate and high staff turnover experienced in the past years in the department. An allocation of R49.4 million provided in 2020/21 financial year will be able to address historic shortfall in the budget for compensation of employees.

 

  1. The Committee further welcomed pronouncement that Census 2021 will go ahead as planned, Stats SA is ready to roll-out the survey. Moreover, Stats SA will no longer collect data manually as it used to in the past Census.A Computer Assisted Personal Interview will be used by enumerators as a more advanced electronic data collection that is affordable, quicker and faster, without compromising the quality aspects of statistics. Stats SA will further send a link to households’ members who are able to use technology to participate in the census by sending filled questionnaires back to the department. A call centre will be established to assist members of the public on any matter relating to census 2021.

 

  1. The Committee urged Stats SA to save cost as data collection during census 2021 will be collected through Computer Assisted Personal Interview, which might reduce cost of data capture, as it used to happen through manual data collection. The Committee requested Statistics SA to be inclusive with the CAPI project so that all communities, including in rural areas, get access to being sourced for information.

 

  1. The Committee was pleased that the budget earmarked for census 2021 has been ring-fenced. 

 

  1. The Committee took note of the new approach, namely “the Continuous Population Surveys (CPS)” aimed at integrating current survey instruments, which are the General Household Survey (GHS), Income and Expenditure Survey(IES) and Living Conditions, Life Circumstances and Poverty Data.

 

  1. The Committee was of the view that Stats SA has to continue championingthe provision of guidance and advice on methodologies to all government departments intending to conduct administrative statistics (records) in order to produce quality statistics for the benefit of using such data for official statistics. 

 

  1. In terms of the legislative reforms, the Committee noted the progress made thus far with regard to the amendment to the Statistics Act of 1999 that intends to drive statistical reform in the country, with a particular emphasis on statistical coordination, statistical geography, the data revolution, a state-wide statistical service and institutional arrangements. The amendments will ensure coordination between organs of state for the purpose of enhancing efficiency in the statistical system.Stats SA has finalised the amendments to the Act, however, delays were encountered due to COVID-19 to meet with the Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.

 

  1. The Committee noted the involvement of Stats SA in the District Development Model for capacitating municipalities tobe able to interpret and use statistics as an instrument for planning, evidence-based policy making and allocation of resources. Stats SA will make available statistics per district and assist municipalities in interpreting data.

 

  1. The Committee was satisfied that most of the government institutions use statistics as an evidence-based tool in policy making and planning. Evidence-based policy making is promoted across government, particularly in the planning. The DPME and other departments have to ensure statistical data is utilised in policy decision making when developing the Medium Term Strategic Framework for 2020-2024 and other government programmes.

 

  1. RECOMMENDATIONS

The Portfolio Committee recommends that Statistics South Africa, through the Minister in the Presidencyfor Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation,gives attention to the following activities:

  1. Statistics South Africa expeditiously finalises and tablesamendment ofthe Statistics Act (1999) to drive statistical reform in the country timeously to Parliament. The amendments of the Act should firmly respond to the evolving environment, with particular emphasis on statistical coordination, the data revolution, a state-wide statistical service and institutional arrangements.

 

  1. Stats SA should continue to capacitate, enhance and enrich municipalities with statistical knowledge through its participation in the District Development Model for the purpose of enabling local government to fulfil its constitutional mandate as per Section 152 of the Constitution.

 

  1. Stats SA should move with speed in its processes of skilling and reskilling of employees on numerous aspects such as digitisation for the purpose of readying itself for effective collection of data for the census. Stats SA should provide the Committee with a comprehensive report on its readiness to conduct Census 2021 by November 2020.

 

  1. Stats SA should during census ensure the process of data collection is as inclusive as possible particularly with regard to the connectivity in the remote rural areas. ICT should not be a hindrance for collecting data since while Computer Assisted Personal Interview will be used throughout the census. 

 

  1. Stats SA should prioritise filling key critical positions through an allocation of R49.4 million aimed at addressing the historical budget shortfall on the compensation of employees.

 

  1. With the looming possible budget cuts in government as a result of funding the Relief Fund to address socio-economic challenges exacerbated by coronavirus pandemic, the National Treasury should be cautious when cutting departmental budgets, especially at Stats SA since it has had historical budget shortfalls over the past four years.

 

  1. Stats SA together with the National Treasury should ensure, as promised, that budget for Census 2021 remains ring-fenced during this difficult period of budgetary constraints caused by coronavirus pandemic.

 

  1. Stats SA should continue to provide statistical advice on the methodology for the administrative stats/or records intended to be commissioned by various departments, if such data will be considered or used when compiling official statistics.

 

  1. Stats SA should, in collaboration with other stakeholders, devise a long-term connectivity strategy to link up with deep rural areas through technology in order to harvest information vital to planning.

 

  1. CONCLUSION

Statistics South Africacontinues to play a significant role in producing credible statistics to inform evidence-based planning, monitoring, evaluation and decision-making and helping academics and private and public sector towardsaccessing reliable statistics. Moreover, Stats SA remains a key strategic player in the transformative agenda by producing evidence-based, quality and accurate official statistics for the country. Collection of statistics remainsa top priority for the purpose of ensuring informed current and future planning for the country.

Statistical information playsa critical role in the value chain and should enhance planning and evidence-based policy making across a wide range of sectors. Statistics South Africa should not be put atriskdue to budget constraints. A well-resourced Statistics South Africa will serve well the needs of the country.

 

The Portfolio Committee recommends as follows:

That the House adopts and approves the Budget Vote 14 of Statistics South Africa.

 

Report to be considered

 

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