The registration of deaths in South Africa is governed by the Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1992 (Act No. 51 of 1992), as amended. The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) uses death notification form DHA-1663 to register all deaths and stillbirths. Stats SA collects completed death notification forms from the DHA head office for data processing, analysis, report writing and dissemination. Causes of death statistics are compiled in accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO) regulations that require that member nations classify and code causes of death using the tenth revision of the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10).
Statistics from civil registration are the only national source of information on mortality and causes of death in South Africa. Such information is invaluable for the assessment and monitoring of the health status of the population and for planning of adequate health interventions. Accordingly, these statistics are also essential in tracking progress and monitoring key development objectives outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP) adopted by the South African government in 2012. The plan asserts that health care can be improved through decreasing mortality by combating infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS and the emerging tide of non-communicable diseases. The government objective, ‘Health care for all by 2030’ outlined in the NDP is aimed at reducing child and infant mortality; maternal mortality; and combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases by 2030.