ATC200820: Report of the Portfolio Committee Public Service and Administration on Consideration of the fourth quarter performance of 2019/20 financial year: Statistics South Africa, Dated 19 August 2020

Public Service and Administration, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

Report of the Portfolio Committee Public Service and Administration on Consideration of the fourth quarter performance of 2019/20 financial year: Statistics South Africa, Dated 19 August 2020

 

  1. BACKGROUND

The Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration (hereinafter referred to as the Committee) having considered fourth quarter performance of 2019/20 financial yearof Statistics South Africa, reports as follows:

 

  1. INTRODUCTION

Parliament through its Committees has a constitutional mandate to oversee quarterly programme performance information of the departments and its entities throughout financial year. The Money Bills Amendment and Related Matters Act (2009) describe the process of exercising this responsibility. The Act states that portfolio committees of parliament must conduct reviews of the finances of their respective departments and entities and if required, issue recommendations on the forward use of resources.

Programme performance information focuses on information that is collected by government departments in the course of fulfilling their mandates and implementing policies. Quarterly performance reports serve as a vital tool used by parliamentary committees to ensure accountability, transparency and oversight on how government resources are spent. Committees are expected to monitor both financial and non-financial performance of the departments. The Public Finance Management Regulations compel departments and their entities to prepare quarterly report within 30 days after the end of each quarter. Committees conduct oversight over performance reports to fulfil Parliament’s oversight and accountability mandates as enshrined in the Constitution and under the rules established by the National Assembly.

On June 19, 2020, the Committee considered fourthquarter performance of 2019/20 financial year of Stats SA. Performance information was in accordance with their Strategic Plan, Annual Performance Plan and Medium Term Strategic Framework. The report provides an overview of the presentation made before the Committee primarily focusing on the achievements, output in respect of the performance indicators and targets set for above-mentioned financial year. The report outlines the findings/observations of the Committee relating to the quarterly financial and non-financial performance of the Department.

 

  1. BUDGET ALLOCATION AND EXPENDITURE

Stats SA’s adjusted baseline allocation for the 2019/20 financial year was R2 514 billion. Of the baseline allocation, R1 460 billion was allocated for Compensation of Employees (CoE), representing 58,1% whilst R681021 million allocated for goods and services and R2 612 million was allocated for payments of transfers and subsidies. Stats SA has achieved 90,0% of its annual targets as at 31 March 2020, of which 83,9% were achieved as scheduled and 10% of targets were not achieved.

 

The department’s actual spending as at 31 March amounted to R2 555 billion, representing 101,6% of the baseline allocation, exceeding the baseline allocation by R40,293 million. The compensation of employees (CoE) budget was reduced and the department overspent on the CoE budget for the 2019/20 financial year due to budget reductions that resulted in the costs of filled permanent positions not being affordable.

 

The department received a once-off goods and services allocation of R75 million for the recruitment of contract staff and to cover some operational expenditure for the economic, social and population surveys. The allocation is intended to ease the pressure that the department is experiencing on CoE as a result of budget reductions. The department also has an earmarked allocation of R145 298 million for the Census 2021 project in the 2019/20 financial year. When excluding the economic, social and population surveys and Census 2021 once-off allocations, the department’s baseline allocation is R2 294 million for the 2019/20 financial year, with spending of R2 340 billion representing spending percentage of 102,0%.

 

Stats SA has 2 790 filled posts that consist of 2 785 permanent staff members and 5 staff members on contract appointed against permanent posts. The permanent staff comprises 46,1% male and 53,9% female staff members. 87,2% of employees are black African; 5,% are white; 5,3% are coloured; and 1,7% are Indian. 72,2% of SMS posts are filled, consisting of 58,9% males and 41,1% females. 1,4% of employees constitute staff members with disabilities. The vacancy rate as at 31 March 2020 was 20,5%.

 

Table 1: Budget per programme

Programme R'000

Adjusted

budget

Actual Expenditure

Available budget

% spent

1. Administration

678 876

712 522

33 646

105.0%

2.Economic Statistics

276 811

270 934

5 877

97.9%

3. Population and Social Statistics

180 053

213 832

33 779

118.8%

4. Methodology, Standard and Research

83 885

76 784

7 101

91.5%

5. Statistical Support and Informatics

282 331

265 301

17 030

94.0%

  1. Statistical Collection and Outreach

699 389

698 749

640

99.9%

  1. Survey Operations

313 023

316 539

3 516

101.1%

  1. Census 2021

145 725

148 613

3 623

102.5%

Total

2 514 368

2 554 661

-40 293

101.6%

 

  1. Programme Performance

 

  1. Programme 1: Administration

The purpose of the programme is to manage the department and provide centralised support services and capacity building. It coordinates statistical production among organs of state in line with the purpose of official statistics and statistical principles. The programme contributes to two strategic objectives: leading the development and coordination of statistical in the South African National Statistics System (SANSS) and improving productivity and service delivery.

Programme 1,100% of targets scheduled for quarter 4 were achieved of which 93,3% were achieved ass scheduled and 6,7% were achieved earlier than scheduled in previous quarters.

 

  1. Programme 2: Economic Statistics

The Economics Statistics programme produces 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.

Programme 2 has achieved 98,7% of its annual targets of which 98,3% were achieved as scheduled and 0,4% were achieved later than scheduled. 1,3% of targets were not achieved.

 

 

  1. Programme 3: Population and Social Statistics

The purpose of the programme is to produce population, demographic, labour market and social statistics to meet user requirements in line with internationally recognised practices. Population and social statistics inform evidence-based socio-economic development and transformation in line with internationally recognised practices. Programme 3 contributes to strategic objectives in an effort to expand the statistical information base by increasing its depth, breadth and geographic spread for evidence-based planning, monitoring and decision-making for the use by both the public and private sector.

Programme 3 has achieved 96,4% of its annual targets of which 87,5% were achieved as scheduled; 3,6% were achieved earlier than scheduled and 5,4% were achieved later than scheduled. 3,6% of targets were not achieved.

 

  1. Programme 4: Methodology, Standards and Research

The purpose of the programme is to provide expertise on quality and methodology for official statistics, standards for conducting surveys, and business sampling frames. In addition, it conducts policy research and analysis on emerging policy matters. The programme contributes to enhancing public confidence and trust in official statistics.

Programme 4 has achieved 95,5% of its annual targets. 4,5% of targets were not achieved.

 

  1. Programme 5: Statistical Support and Informatics

This programme aims to enable service delivery programmes by using technology in the production and use of official statistics. It informs policy through the use of statistical geography. The programme promotes and provides better access to official statistics. The programme contributes towards 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.

Programme 5 has achieved 73,3% of its annual targets of which 63,3% were achieved as scheduled; 6,7% were achieved earlier than scheduled and 3,3% were achieved later than scheduled. 26,7% of targets were not achieved.

 

  1. Programme 6: Statistical Collection and Outreach

The purpose of the programme is to provide data collection and dissemination services to inform policy processes and to support decision-making through statistical information. In addition, engaging stakeholders through platforms and providing effective communication services. Promoting statistical development and cooperation in South Africa, Africa and the world is also one of the crucial functions of the programme.

Programme 6 has achieved 83,9% of its annual targets of which 71,0% were achieved as scheduled; 11,6% were achieved earlier than scheduled and 1,3% were achieved later than scheduled. 16,1% of targets were not achieved.

 

  1. Programme 7: Survey Operations

The purpose of the programme is to coordinate survey operations for household surveys and provide processing services to produce official statistics. The programme conducts independent household survey monitoring and evaluation activities. The programme contributes towards improving productivity and service delivery. Expanding the statistical information base for use by government, the private sector and the general public by conducting a population census every 10 years as well as large-scale population surveys between censuses is one of the focus areas.

Programme 7,has achieved 81,0% of its annual targets of which 76,2% were achieved earlier than scheduled and 4,8% were achieved later than scheduled. 19,0% of targets were not achieved.

 

 

  1. FINDINGS AND OBSERVATIONS

The Portfolio Committee made the following observations and findings:

  1. The Committee notes and welcomed fourthquarter performance ofthe Statistics South Africa. The Committee commends Stats SA on the attainment of 90,0% of its annual targets even though the department is confronted with financial constraints more particularly on the compensation of employees.

 

  1. The Committee notes high staff turnover caused by numerous factors such as lack of sufficient financial resources on compensation of employees to retain staff due to budget cuts experienced since October 2016. The Committee urged Stats SA to fill all critical funded post since an additional amount has been allocated for compensation of employees in 2020/21budget allocation.

 

  1. The Committee should coordinate a meeting between the Portfolio Committees on Appropriation and Finance to discuss and find a lasting solution to address financial constraints experienced at Stats SA which might affect the department in a long term.

 

  1. The Committee was concernedwith theeffect of Covid-19 on Stats SA and its ability to effectively conduct a successful Census 2021. The Committee urged Stats SA to prioritise employment of young people as data collectors (enumerators) during Census 2021.

 

5. The Portfolio Committee recommends as follows:

5.1       That the House adopts and approve fourth quarter performance report for 2019/20 financial year of the Budget Vote 12 of Statistics South Africa

Report to be considered

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