Embargo: 6 October 2004

Time: 12:00

Stats SA reports 'good progress' to Finance Portfolio Committee

The Statistician General and head of Statistics South Africa, Pali Lehohla, has told Parliament's Finance

Portfolio Committee that good progress is being made both in the quality of statistics being collected, and in the management of the Department.

In a presentation to the Committee today (Wednesday 6 October), Lehohla summarised the main problems his Department has faced in the past few, especially in the quality of its economic statistics and the consistency of its internal management. But he was upbeat about progress made in solving these issues, detailing recent achievements and setting out plans and deliverables for the future.

Noting that expenditure was under control and a management information system operational, Lehohla set out Stats SA's plans for introduction of a computer-based asset management system, development of a risk management strategy, and redesign of internal control processes to enhance compliance with the regulatory environment. These had all been identified as areas of weakness in recent reports by the Auditor-General.

But it was in the area of measurement of the economy that Lehohla was particularly upbeat, pointing to

Improvements in the economic series would, said Lehohla, provide a more accurate picture of size and growth of economy through re-benchmarking of the gross domestic product (GDP), due for release in November.

Setting out Stats SA's plans for ongoing improvements in the economic series over the next three years, Lehohla highlighted

'Stats SA has had to negotiate some stormy seas over the past few years', said Lehohla. 'The pace of transformation, the requirements of radical improvement in all our statistical collection areas, changes in methodologies and new demands for reliable and relevant data have sometimes been punishing in their intensity. Mistakes have certainly been made. However, I am confident that any comprehensive and balanced assessment will confirm the progress Stats SA has made, and continues to make'.


For more information, contact Trevor Oosterwyk, Head of Communications, on 082-908-9104