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The Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration (PSA) was briefed yesterday by the Auditor-General (AG) South Africa on the audit outcomes for the 2020/21 financial year for the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation; Brand SA and Statistics South Africa (Stats SA). The committee also received a progress report on the implementation of the recommendations contained in the budget reports for the 2020/21 financial year.

The committee noted the high vacancy rate at Brand SA and that material misstatement had occurred. However, an executive decision has been taken to merge Brand SA and Tourism South Africa. The committee requested the department to provide a progress report on the merger.

The committee further heard from Stats SA that Census 2021 had to be postponed this year due to the local government elections. The committee noted that R413 million budgeted for the census in 2021 will be rolled over to the next financial year. Stats SA informed the committee that lockdown restrictions impacted on their training programme for the data collectors. Nonetheless, Stats SA affirmed its readiness to conduct the census, which will happen in February 2022.

The official date for the commencement of the census will be gazetted and proclaimed by the Minister of the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation. Stats SA has employed 165 000 data collectors for the duration of the census. These temporary employees will use three multimode methods to gather data: face-to-face, computer-assisted and telephonic interviews.