Do you need to comply with a StatsSA request?

In terms of the Statistics Act, businesses are required to provide certain specified information/documentation when officially requested to do so.

By refusing to comply, a business could be liable for a fine as outlined in section 18 – offences and penalties.

FEDHASA recommends that members contact StatsSA by phone to verify the credibility of the person making the request. StatsSA can be reached at (012) 310 8911 or (012) 310 8600.

The relevant information is as follows:

Statistics Act No 6 of 1999

Section 16 of the Statistics Act states the following:

Duty to answer questions

(1) The Statistician-General, or an officer of Statistics South Africa authorized by him or her, may, while performing their functions in accordance with this Act, pose any questions that they consider reasonably necessary for the collection of statistics to any person.

(2) Every person, including every employee of any organ of state, must:

(a) To the best of their knowledge and belief, and subject to the right to dignity and privacy, answer all questions put orally or in writing in terms of subsection (1) when required to do so.

(b) Furnish all such information or sign such declaration as required by any document referred to in section 7(1)(e)(ii) in accordance with the instructions and before the specified date.

(3) A document referred to in section 7(1)(e)(ii) is considered sufficiently authenticated if the name and designation of the competent person who issued it are printed or stamped on the document.

StatsSA Q&A

Can Stats SA collect personal information despite the POPI Act?

Yes. A respondent in a survey conducted by Stats SA cannot refuse to provide their information, even if they rely on the right to privacy protected by the POPI Act. Section 3 (3) of the POPI Act states that the Act should be interpreted in a way that allows public or private bodies to fulfill their duties in terms of the law regarding the processing of personal information.

In the case of Stats SA, it exercises its powers under the Statistics Act. According to this Act, every person approached by Stats SA has a duty to answer questions. A respondent approached by Stats SA cannot refuse to provide information, as this would hinder the functioning of Stats SA.  Click here for more information.

The definition of ‘document’ includes:

(a) A printed or photographic form such as a form, questionnaire, schedule, notice, or report.

(b) A documentary recording or transcribed computer printout or record that can be produced as a printout by a mechanical or electronic device.

(c) A medium or device used for recording or storing information.

Section 7(1)(e)(ii) states:

(1) The Statistician-General

(e) Determines and holds final responsibility for the implementation of the work program of Statistics South Africa, including

(ii) The times and manner in which statistical collections are conducted and the form of any related document.


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