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Stats SA vows to uphold confidentially of collected data

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Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) says it will not pass on information collected from any of its surveys to third parties.

This comes as the Reserve Bank has sought detailed information about private businesses.

The central bank is one of the few organisations that has given written comment on the Statistics Amendment Bill currently before Parliament.

The bank raised concerns about Stats SA’s refusal to provide information collected from surveys.

However, Stats SA says if this is allowed, it could deter people from participating in its surveys.

Statistician General, Risenga Maluleke says, “Any information that we share with the South African Reserve Bank takes away the identifiers. So nobody, including the Reserve Bank, can see which company returned what information. At person’s level, we collect what information of income and expenditure of individuals, the living circumstances and we collect information about the employment rights.”

Maluleke says this also affects information on undocumented migrants.

“As we collect information about undocumented migrants as we have seen in the census, undocumented migrants do from time to time withhold information all over the world, especially when they know that this information or suspect (that) this information (will) be shared with law enforcement officers. In the process, they would withhold information. Our arrangements as is with other countries with people or NGOs that represent them is that we have a confidentiality clause at StatsSA.”

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