ANC Parliamentary Caucus

National Assembly

Budget Vote 14 Statistics South Africa

Comrade V. Malomane

9 May 2023

Data Driven Planning for effective government response, planning and budgeting

1.Evidence based planning and its importance for socio-economic impact

Data driven analysis is critical for planning for an effective and efficient government which is able to be highly responsive, and profound with planning and budgeting for short, medium and long term goals. Planning plays an imperative role for government to achieving its goals. One key element government uses is evidence-based planning. Evidence based planning is used for gathering and evaluating data and evidence to understand the current situation, identifying and analysing potential solutions, and selecting the best course of action based on the available evidence.

Evidence based planning is important as a tool to coordinate impact against socio-economic issues because it helps to ensure that decisions are based on reliable information and that resources are used effectively to achieve the desired outcomes and impact.

By using evidence to inform decision-making policymakers, planners and implementors can identify the most pressing social and economic challenges, determine the most effective solutions, evaluate the impact of policies and programs and enhance accountability and transparency.

Planning is a pivotal factor in our governance system, the ANC in the 2019 manifesto highlighted that we needed to strengthen and consolidate efforts to digitalise government, utilise big data in planning and execution, and expedite the implementation of e-governance so that citizens can access public services from any location as they become connected as well as strengthening the coordination of inter-governmental relations and planning and be more proactive in mediating and resolving problems, including between district and local municipalities

2.Statistics South Africa as a critical component of planning and service delivery initiatives and responses to state entities and organs

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) plays a critical role in planning and service delivery initiatives in South Africa by providing accurate, reliable and timely data that informs decision-making processes in government and other sectors. As the national statistical agency, Stats SA collects data analyses it, and disseminates it as information, this process is based on various aspects of the South African economy and society.

The data and statistics provided by Stats SA are used by government departments, state-owned entities, businesses, researchers, civil society organizations and the general public to understand and monitor the country’s socio-economic conditions, and to inform policy-making and service delivery initiatives. Some of the key areas where Stats SA’s data is used are economic planning and development, social planning and development, infrastructure planning and development, demographic and population planning.

In Economic planning and development, Stats SA provides data on the country’s economic performance, including gross domestic product (GDP), employment, inflation, and trade. This information is used by the public and private sector to inform economic policies and investment decisions.

In Social planning and development, Stats SA provides data on various social indicators, such as education, health, housing, and crime, this information is used by government to plan and implement social development programs and initiatives. Infrastructure planning and development is where Stats SA provides data on infrastructure development, such as housing, water, sanitation, and electricity.

This information is used by government to plan, budget and implement infrastructure development projects, and in demographic and population planning data provided by Stats SA pertaining to our country’s population, include factors such as age, gender, race, and migration patterns, this is used by government to plan and implement population-based initiatives, such as healthcare and education programs.

3.Development of statistical indicators focusing on the District Development Model

The District Development Model (DDM) is a program that was created for development planning and implementation in South Africa that seeks to improve service delivery, economic growth, and job creation in local areas. The State Of the Nation Address speech of 2019 identified the difficulty of monitoring and oversight in government. It highlighted that this was highly attributed to a pattern of departments in the three spheres of government operating in isolation which caused a lack of coherence in planning, budgeting and implementation. As a result, there had been less of an impact on the triple challenges of poverty, inequality, and employment, and less this has also resulted in poor service delivery in some areas. 

The development of statistical indicators focusing on the DDM will help track progress, identify challenges, and measure the impact of the model on local communities. Some statistical indicators that were developed for the DDM are concerning Infrastructure development, job creation, service delivery economic growth and social development.

4.Funding requirements of Stats SA

Funding is essential for the success and growth of any institution. The budget is used to cover the costs of infrastructure, research, staff salaries, data collection and processing. Funding to Stats SA has been a challenges which should be addressed  as this ahas reduced the capacity of the entity to optimally execute its mandate and increase its offering. In the 2022 Budget, presented by the Minister of Finance government stopped the cycle of reductions to Stats SA, and provided funds for the Income and Expenditure Survey, which Stats SA  advanced as well as some monies for filling essential positions.

Moreover, the recruiting and promotion restrictions have been relaxed, allowing Stats SA to fill acting roles with highly trained professionals. We implore and concur with Stats SA that more funding is required for employees, surveys with larger sample sizes, and, most importantly, for the collection of reliable local government level data for the DDM. However, we believe that the tide has reversed, and we are hopeful that as we recover from the catastrophic COVID-19 pandemic we anticipate that moving forward we should be able to produce a renewed and fruitful partnership with the institution.