The dawn of democracy in 1994 created a new dispensation in which access to basic services such as housing, water and sanitation was recognized as a fundamental human right. South Africa inherited high levels of poverty and it continues to be confronted with unequal and often inadequate access to resources, infrastructure and social services. The Bill of Rights enshrined the right to basic services and commanded that the state must take reasonable measures to achieve the progressive realisation of these rights.
Faced by inadequate information about the state of development in South Africa, Statistics South Africa (then called the Central Statistical Service) launched the October Household Survey (OHS) programme in 1993. The survey was discontinued in 1999 and subsequently replaced by the General Household Survey (GHS) which was instituted in 2002 in order to determine the level of development in the country and the performance of programs and projects on a regular basis. The GHS continues to evolve and key questions are continuously added and/or modified in consultation with key stakeholders to maintain the relevance and quality of data. In addition to measuring access to key services, the level of satisfaction with, as well as perceived quality of selected services provided by Government are also measured.
The Statistician-General (SG), Mr Pali Lehohla, gave a presentation on “Why statistics matter” at the high-level Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN) meeting in Berlin. In his presentation, he highlighted the fact that statistics are about people, places and possibilities, not about numbers. He made reference to the properties of statistics, and how they should be read more »