The DA welcomes the speedy response from the Statistics Council on questions of the quality of the Census 2011 data. We do however maintain that key questions remain unanswered and must be addressed in a hearing by Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance.
Today, the chair of the Statistics Council of South Africa, Howard Gabriels, held an urgent press conference to respond to the concerns around the quality of the Census 2011 data.
This comes after the validity of the Census 2011 results were called into question by external consultants from the University of Cape Town (UCT), hired by the Council and tasked with vetting the Census data.
Mr Gabriels was quick to insist that they had considered the report from the UCT consultants "very, very seriously" but believed that the census was “fit” for release. His reported reassurances that the council did not take a “mad decision” to rush the Census results are welcomed by the DA.
Whilst we commend the speed with which the Mr Gabriels and his team have acted in addressing some of the fears around the Census 2011 results, we believe that key questions still remain unanswered. These include:
Yesterday, I wrote a letter to the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance,
Mr Thabadiawa Mufamadi, to request that he convene a meeting to review the results of Census 2011.
In particular I requested that we summon Minister Trevor Manuel, StatsSA, the Statistics Council, and the demographers who have raised concerns around the data, to Parliament to reassure the South African public that the Census results are reliable.
My request stands. South Africa should only adjust budget allocations using this data once Parliament, as the representative of the people, has assured itself that potential criticisms are unfounded.