Statistics Amendment Bill: proposed amendments & Committee Report

Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation

08 December 2023
Chairperson: Mr Q Dyantyi (ANC)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary


After deliberating on the amendments to the Statistics Amendment Bill [B31-2023], the Portfolio Committee on Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation adopted both the A-List and the Committee Report on the Bill, while noting the Economic Freedom Fighters’ reservations and the Democratic Alliance’s objections to the clause 9 amendment to allow physical access to individuals for accurate data collection during a census. The Committee Report and the B-version of the Bill will be published once the Committee Section and Parliament's Constitutional and Legal Services Office have concluded their processes. 

The Statistics Amendment Bill make provision for the development and implementation of the National Statistics System (NSS).

Meeting report

Stats SA presentation on Committee proposed amendments (A-List)
Mr Risenga Maluleke, Stats SA Statistician-General, said that while they have decent team of field workers, there have been instances in the past where criminals have hijacked their good cause by pretending to be Stats SA field workers, where two of their field workers have been attacked and harassed sexually. Stats SA good relationship with community leaders and police has had these criminals exposed. He noted that despite the concerns raised by Ms Graham of the DA in the previous meeting, access to a private dwelling is important in conducting a census.

Ms Yandiswa Mpetsheni, Stats SA DDG: Population and Social Statistics, said that after the 5 December engagement with the Committee, Stats SA has drafted these proposed amendments as the A-List:
• In Section 7(c) , the words “in the year 2001 and” have been deleted.
• In Section 7 (l) , the words “at no cost” have been deleted.
• In Section 13 (a) , the words “to be known as NSS” have been replaced with “for the NSS”.
• Proposed deletion of “other than a private dwelling” in clause 9 amending Section 15 to insert "of any individual" to read: “(1) For the purpose of making enquiries or observations necessary for achieving the purpose of this Act, the Statistical-General or any officer of Statistics South Africa authorised by him or her may enter any land or premises [other than a private dwelling] of any individual, organ of state, business or other organisation and inspect anything thereon or therein.”

Ms S Graham (DA) thanked Stats SA for the thought process put towards the inputs made by the Committee. However, the replacement of the words “other than a private dwelling” with “other than an individual” brings lack of clarity as it relates to the Prevention of Illegal Evictions Act. There is no clarity as to what constitutes a home or a dwelling in the law, by using “individual” it broadens the scope of the right Stats SA has to violate someone’s privacy. She was not saying this to go against the collection of data but perhaps Stats SA could push the use of alternative mechanisms of data collection without putting the safety and security of the citizens at risk. She rejected the insertion of ‘individual’ and requested that ‘private dwelling’ be retained.

Ms C Phiri (ANC) said that she agrees with the Clause 9 amendment due to the number of cases where Stats SA does not get a response. This has financial implications that a data capturer must be sent to that household. There are people who are not technologically advanced to capture data themselves online. The minute the Committee allows that conducting a census is an invasion of privacy, there will be a lot of non-compliance by citizens. She pleaded that this should not be seen as a criminal act because it is necessary for the state to conduct the census to plan accordingly for the population of South Africa.

Mr M Manyi (EFF) said that he understood the argument of the opposition due to the reality on the ground. It would be misleading to go with the narrative that Stats SA goes house to house conducting a census and that criminals can make fake uniforms pretending to belong to Stats SA. He noted that backyard dwellings must be dealt with, giving clarity of who is liable for that mandate and that entity should not interfere with another’s mandate. The safety of the people of South Africa should be put forward as a priority, taking into consideration the reality of the country we live in due to crime. He noted the EFF reservations to the clause 9 amendment.

Mr K Pillay (ANC) said that at no point do they want to endanger the lives of the citizens and they will protect the interests of communities. He emphasized the importance of data collection for planning purposes. He did not see a problem with the clause 9 proposed amendment.

The Chairperson said that entertaining the worst-case scenario when making a law cannot be right. These laws should take into account what happens in the future. The clause 9 amendment avoids the challenge of undercounting as was recorded in the Western Cape in the 2022 Census. Although the right to privacy exists, it should not infringe on this particular mandate of the state.

Mr B Yabo (ANC) said that he agreed with the clause 9 amendment because not including this in the clause will leave a grey area for Stats SA to be able to execute their mandate as required by the law. It is important for the law to speak explicitly on the matter of access as there has been a tendency among certain demographics in the country not to want to participate in matters of national importance because of certain political views they hold.

The proposed amendments in the A-List were approved by the majority of the Committee.

Mr Julius Ngoepe, Committee Content Advisor, said that the Bill will be sent to Creda for the finalisation of the B version of the Bill. He advised that the Committee Report be adopted. The B Bill will then be circulated to Members once it has been finalised.

Committee Report on Statistics Amendment Bill: adoption
The Committee Report on the Statistics Amendment Bill was adopted with proposed amendments and the objections were noted.

The Parliamentary Annual Report of the Committee was adopted without amendments.

The minutes of the meetings 10, 17, 24 November and 1 December 2023 were adopted

The Chairperson thanked the attendees and adjourned the meeting.



No related

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: