Media briefing on Statistics South Africa Budget Vote 2015/16

Honourable Minister Jeff Radebe:

Media briefing on Statistics South Africa Budget Vote 2015/16


Good day ladies and gentlemen and members of the media

Later today I will present the budget vote speech for Statistic South Africa (Stats SA), and the task ahead is a mammoth one. We will outline what needs to be done and the approach to this is to reflect on the vision we have, against the National Development Plan which is our comprehensive development roadmap.

There are critical questions on the quantitative and qualitative measures South Africa is faced with as we seek to mobilise and secure the space to implement Vision 2030 as espoused in the National Development Plan (NDP).

We have undoubtedly crafted progressive policies, but the challenges have been the measures by which all these plans could realise their intended goals. In this statistics and Stats SA give credence to our claim that ours is a scientific and reliable development programme.

As we have indicated before, the National Development Plan is our comprehensive development roadmap, it is our Master Plan through which significant progress is made possible. What remains then is to plan every detail in order to realise this significant progress.

The Statistics South Africa budget vote that we will present shortly today is linked to the Planning Monitoring and Evaluation budget vote we presented yesterday. Preparing a Master Plan and applying it are two different things. Credible statistics will also help us to respond unequivocally to the questions that, having embraced the NDP, the masses of our people have. They are asking:

  • Have we consciously and comprehensively aligned our implementation programmes and projects to the Master Plan?
  • Are we monitoring the plan continuously?
  • Do we have the staying power to see our plan through?
  • Are we picking up the critical lessons we have learnt in order to spur our development agenda forward?
  • Are we experts and masters of our terrain and plan; and
  • Finally are we using scientific facts to lead and manage the plan?


Ladies and gentlemen,

We need to prepare a Master Plan and apply it. Let me draw your attention to the key features of the work programme of Statistics South Africa, aimed at spurring our NDP forward through implementation of measurement.

  • Firstly, Statistics SA has the task of ensuring that there is a deliberate alignment in the results value chain. This is from inputs, outputs, outcome and impact through the use of a rigorous application of statistical indicator framework.
  • Secondly, we will embark on a Community Survey which will assist us in a comprehensive understanding of the state of delivery of services from 1996 when we had our first post-apartheid benchmark, namely Census 1996, also we will undertake the first dipstick survey covering Customer Satisfaction Survey and this will be undertaken in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province.
  • Thirdly, there is a need for the improvement of the national accounts through enhanced coordination of economic statistics under one authority.
  • Fourthly, we will be preparing a closeout report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) and adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Fifth, we will outline the legislative reform for faster, better and greater compliance with the implementation of the national statistical system.
  • Finally, Statistics South Africa will have a new home that befits the nature of the work and technology required to improve performance of the employees.

Through a process of refinement of indicators by which we monitor the plan, we shall be in a position to know the extent to which our Master Plan is comprehensive and how well it is aligned and implemented.

I have already instructed the Statistician-General and the Acting Director General of the DPME to work together on ensuring that the recommendations by Stats SA must be fed in the planning cycle of the DPME, to assist us with monitoring indicators in the National Development Plan using data and also work on monitoring alignment of systems of planning and produce an indicator framework to be delivered for consideration at the July Cabinet Lekgotla.

As we implement through Operation Phakisa, the faster and better results approach, we need to be assured that the measurement raft at our disposal is robust. We shall stay the course only when we use scientific methods and scientific statistics.


Ladies and gentlemen,

As we reflect over the twenty years on our delivery record, Statistics South Africa will again conduct the Community Survey, a second in the life of the organisation. This survey, the second one from 2007, will be better, bigger, faster and cheaper. Let me state the obvious that simply having a plan, however detailed, is not enough. As Abraham Lincoln once said:

“If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it”.

  • What makes it better? It is better in that it will be able to provide estimates of progress or lack thereof at the level of municipalities.
  • What makes it bigger? It is bigger in that it is five times the size of the previous 2007 effort and will reach out to 1.5 million households instead of the three hundred thousand in 2007.
  • What makes it faster? It is faster in that through the use of tablet technology, the selection, recruitment, training and appointments of staff will be delivered electronically and results of interviews from households will be electronically transmitted to servers for processing.
  • What makes this Community Survey cheaper? So it is delivered at half the price of the 2007 survey but it is five times the size.


The survey is envisaged to commence in the field from the beginning of February 2016 – March 2016. Implementing the Community Survey in 2016, twenty years from the first census under democratic rule, will provide us with a 20 year perspective of what has been achieved and what more needs to be done. It will provide us the information means by which we will know whether or not we are on the right path towards successfully implementing our vision or not. What more of what or what less of what should be done and what trade-offs provide the best outcome. We look forward to these results in about fourteen months from today.

Members of the media, Stats SA will be mounting a user paid Customer Satisfaction Survey in October 2015 in Kwa-Zulu Natal, at the request of Premier Mr Senzo Mchunu. This survey will deliver to the war room of Kwa-Zulu Natal perspectives on the delivery of services from the side of the consumer and how satisfied or otherwise, they are with these.

They will confirm as citizens whether:

  • services are being delivered or not including on whether such services are in working order or not.
  • whether the tap actually delivers water or whether there are critical disruptions.

These citizens’ survey on levels of approval or disapproval regarding the services at their disposal, raises the quality of accountability and should deliver better fruits of democracy.

The results will be reported before the end of the year of 2015 and this edition of the series of statistics will assist Stats SA to refine its proof of concept for the 2016 Community Survey operation.

Stats SA jointly with the South African Reserve Bank entered a programme of improving the compilation of the National Accounts of our country. To this end the two institutions have agreed that it is desirable that the three sides of the National Accounts are compiled under one roof. Thus by March 2016, the first expenditure side of the national account will be delivered by Stats SA to complement the production and income sides of the Gross Domestic Product. This will enable and guide integration across data systems of the state.

Having implemented the most recent System of National Accounts in November 2015, Stats SA will strive to further its implementation of the System of Environmental Economic Accounts and associated frameworks this year. Through the integration of the environment and the economy, policy makers will be further equipped to make decisions that will ensure sustainable economic growth.

In the last 14 years, we have been seized with meeting the targets of the Millennium Development Goals. As we bid farewell to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the remaining five months, we are pleased that they have embedded in the public consciousness the notion of the importance of measurement.

The SDGs are significantly demanding when it comes to data. In comparison to the 8 goals of the MDGs, the SDGs have 17 goals. The targets in the MDGs were 20 and in the new SDGs they are 69. Indicators in the MDG framework were forty eight and they rose to sixty and in the SDG era the suggestion is to have 302 but there are at least one thousand or so being floated. This implies that the country statistics systems will have to cope with a much bigger demand than before.


Ladies and gentlemen,

Statistics South Africa has already undertaken an exercise of mapping out at least the goals and targets from the SDGs on our Master Plan, namely the NDP, and there is a good fit between the two. StatsSA will, as time unfolds, engage in the process of indicators. A continental programme on SDG indicators is under way to produce these such that they meet the deadline of the Heads of State meeting in South Africa in June.

Through the National Strategy for Development of Statistics (NSDS) which is proposed in the legislative reform process, the NDP indicators will form part of the body of work that will be contained in the NSDS. More importantly, the proposed changes in the legislation advocate for governance structures such as the statistics units to be established. Should these be established they would be able to ensure that that the data that is used in tracking NDP indicators and their own indicators is credible through using the light version of the South African Statistical Quality Assessment Framework.

As I conclude, allow me to announce that Statistics South Africa goes to a new home at Freedom Park. Information is Freedom. Come June 2016, Stats SA will move to their new home in Freedom Park.

I performed the sod turning ceremony in July and I am impressed with the speed of delivery and the tight monitoring regime that accompanies the building. The staff will be in a modern building befitting of an information and technology driven institution that must be at the heart of all our development work. The staff will be located in an open plan environment divided by glass walls consistent with the drive for transparency. The design of the building has an apex as a drum, thus StatsSA is drumming for a better future through better statistics.


Honourable members,

Ladies and gentlemen;

As we stated last in reference to the words of wisdom by our former President Nelson Mandela: “Significant progress is always possible if we ourselves plan every detail and allow intervention of fate only on our own terms. Preparing a master plan and applying it are two different things.” “It may seem impossible until it is done” but we are assured by the far reaching vision of Madiba and his emphasis on planning. But as we have indicated from the quote by Abraham Lincoln:

“If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it”.

And that is the mainstay of what our work is all about!

I thank you!