SA gears for Census 2021

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Planning for South Africa’s next population census will commence in 2018/19, says Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Tabling Statistics South Africa’s budget vote in Parliament, Minister Dlamini-Zuma said conducting a population census is the biggest statistical survey any country and national statistics agency can undertake.

“Planning for South Africa’s next population census, which is scheduled for 2021, will commence in 2018/19. Census 2021 will be the first of its kind in South Africa to be conducted using electronic data collection methodology -- Computer Assisted Personal Interviews (CAPI). This will improve the quality of data collected and reduce the time-lag between data collection and the dissemination of results,” said the Minister on Wednesday.

Stats SA last conducted a census of the population in 2011.

Conducted from 10 to 31 October 2011, the Census provided policy makers with crucial data about the size of the population, their geographical location and access to services, among other things.

Minister Dlamini-Zuma said government will support Stats SA to ensure that its work remains relevant, as statistics are the evidence on which policies are built and decisions are made.

“Without good statistics, the policy development and decision-making process is blind: we cannot learn from our mistakes, and the public cannot hold us accountable. Statistics help us to understand and learn from the past, make sense of the present, and make inferences about the future,” she said.

Minister Dlamini-Zuma said the world now has an insatiable demand for data, statistics and information.

“Such demand is accompanied by those who are willing to give up their personal information in exchange for getting more, thus fuelling the emergence of those who are willing to peddle data sometimes to the extent of loss of human dignity. Dignity should never be lost in the pursuit of empirical evidence.

“Official statistics the world over are driven by the United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics and in Africa, by the African Charter on Statistics.”

Minister Dlamini-Zuma said South Africa prides itself on the Statistics Act that guarantees confidentiality at all times. In addition, the methods through which South Africa’s national statistics are collected, processed and analysed remain independent from any undue influence. 

“Stats SA is listed among the best in the world when it comes to the progressive framework for statistic, good practice and transparency.”

Amending the Statistics Act 

Meanwhile, Stats SA will bring forth the amended Statistics Act that will drive statistical reform in the country.

The reform will place emphasis on statistical coordination, statistical geography, the data revolution, a state-wide statistical service and institutional arrangements.

The Minister said coordination between organs of State is essential for consistency and efficiency in the statistical system.

Contribution to continental integration

South Africa continues to contribute to the continental integration agenda and to the improvement of the African Statistical System based on the African Charter on Statistics and the Strategy for Harmonisation of Statistics in Africa.

In addition, Stats SA is in the forefront of initiatives aimed at shaping the future of statistics in response to the global post-2015 development agenda, the Africa Agenda 2063 and Data Revolution.

Stats SA, which produces more than 250 publications and reports each year, covering various aspects of the South African economy, society and the environment, will continue to focus on maintaining basic statistics.

It will also focus on integrating, innovating and modernising the statistics value chain among others.

Minister Dlamini-Zuma tabled a Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) budget vote of R2.3 billion in 2018/19; and R2.4 billion and R3.3 billion in the 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years respectively. –

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