Stats SA returns to field

More than a year after Stats SA suspended face-to-face data collection due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Stats SA Survey Officers (SOs) will return to the field to collect contact details from households that have been selected to participate in one of our household surveys.

“We have updated our sample, and need to collect contact details from the newly-selected households. There are also households in our current sample that we don’t have contact details for, so we are returning to field to make sure that we can collect enough data to publish good-quality statistics” said Statistician-General for South Africa, Risenga Maluleke.

SOs will go into field every month to collect contact information from the households they will be contacting to participate in that month’s data collection. These visits should be fairly short, as they are only collecting contact details for someone who will be able to answer the questions for the whole household. SOs have been trained in COVID-19 health protocols, and have been issued with the relevant personal protective equipment. SOs will complete a screening questionnaire and temperature check before being allowed into the field.

Once the contact details have been collected, the SOs will work from home and do telephonic data collection. Households who have been selected to participate in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey will be contacted four times in the year; households who have been selected to participate in one of the other surveys (General Household Survey, Domestic Tourism Survey or Governance, Public Safety and Justice Survey) will be contacted for completion of the questionnaire once.

SOs will wear Stats SA-branded bibs, have been issued with Stats SA ID cards, and have letters explaining the nature of the data collection they are doing. Households can verify that the person collecting information from them is legitimate online , via the call centre on 0800 110 248, or the nearest district office.

Stats SA guarantees the privacy of all information we collect. Section 16 of the Statistics Act, Act No 6 of 1999, states that individual-level data cannot be shared with any organisation, legal entity or individual. Any Stats SA staff member found to be in breach of this is liable to a fine of up to R 10 000 or 6 months in prison, or both.

“I urge all households to participate in our data collection processes. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of timely, accurate statistics, and without the information we collect from you, we will not be able to give the country the information it needs to plan to improve lives”, concluded the Statistician-General.