|About Statistics SA
All information has a spatial dimension, which is essential for the analysis
and utilisation of statistical information. The Geography Division provides the
geographical infrastructure and content required to enhance the statistical
processes such as data collection, analysis and dissemination, and promoting
the production of quality statistics.
Geographical infrastructure requires continuous maintenance and improvement of
geographical systems and databases to produce and disseminate quality
statistics. Work efficiency is improved through automated applications. The
integration of geographical content and statistics is achieved through
continuous maintenance of standard geographical areas (commonly referred to as
the geographical frame). Enumeration Areas (EAs) form the smallest building
blocks of the geographical frame for Census 2001. The vision for the next
census is to spatially locate each dwelling.
The Division provides geographical support for censuses, surveys and the
business register, through proper geographical systems, databases and
applications and an updated geographical frame. The Division's users include
governmental departments and non-governmental organisations.
The geographical frame shows the relationships between different
levels of geography, and promotes geographical standards for collecting,
analysing and presenting statistical information. When information is collected
or disseminated, reference is made to a place that consists of an area with a
name. All places are within the legal or official administrative boundaries of
a country, which are within a specific hierarchy. South Africa is divided into
nine provinces and within them there are district council municipalities (DCs),
each of which consists of one or more local municipalities.
In order to collect data for censuses, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA)
demarcates work areas that are manageable for one enumerator to enumerate
within limited number of days, within the local municipalities and place names.
Such areas are called EAs and are the units for planning, executing and
capturing of census data. This spatial set of EA boundaries is updated before
For dissemination purposes, Stats SA developed a small-area (SA) layer where
each small area consists of one or more EAs, depending on the size of the EA
and an acceptable level of confidentiality.
The geodatabase consists of a raster feature dataset and a vector feature
dataset. The raster dataset covers 80% of the South African Enumeration Areas
in conjunction with the vector data set form the basis, for application and
spatial product development. This geographic data is continuously reviewed and
updates are collected, through inter-departmental and private sector
collaboration, as driven by user needs and requirements. The geodatabase forms
the heart of all geographical operations in the organisation. It is essentially
the basis from where the geographical frame, dwelling frame, census and survey
support and user support is managed.
. to locate every dwelling spatially;
National Dwelling Frame
Stats SA has embarked on a project to develop a national dwelling frame and
register for the whole of South Africa. The objective of the national dwelling
. to collect associated attribute information about each dwelling unit; and
. to continuously maintain such a frame.
In the past, various organisations such as Telkom, Eskom and Stats SA have
attempted to allocate identifiers to dwellings for each organisation's own use.
These attempts only led to confusion and duplication. Stats SA is leading a
team of intergovernmental role-players in an attempt to coordinate the dwelling
frame initiative. Internationally, address systems follow the street address,
suburb and postal code format. Due to the varying settlement patterns in South
Africa and the lack of proper street infrastructure, this format had to be
adapted to suit the South African environment, hence the dwelling frame.
The model is based on assigning a spatial point to every land parcel (cadastral
system) in urban areas. Tables (attributes) are linked for each point, which
provides information on the street address, suburb and the number of units per
land parcel in cases of high-rise buildings. In traditional areas, a dwelling
number and village name are allocated per homestead. In informal areas a
dwelling number and locality are assigned to a structure while the farm and
district names are allocated to the land parcel in farm settlements.
The development of such a dwelling frame will form an integral part of the
statistical infrastructure for our country. This will supplement and refine the
spatial frameworks that are already used for gathering and disseminating
statistical information, as well as promoting the effective use of
administrative data by spatially integrating valuable information from various
|Assigning addresses in collaboration with
the South African Post Office.
||Good partnerships with local communities are
required for assigning addresses in
Geographical support for Social Surveys
One of the biggest geographic information system (GIS) challenges linked to
Social Surveys has been the spatial creation of primary sampling units (PSUs)
for a master-sample frame. The same frame is used by all social surveys to
collect data. Current and accurate statistical data are collected from the
field by using an updated geographical master-sample frame. Data is processed
in a geographically referenced format. A further spin-off from this process is
that each PSU will have a spatially referenced dwelling list that can
contribute to a national dwelling frame for South Africa.
Social surveys entail different phases, namely: planning, design, fieldwork,
processing, analysis and reporting. Geography is present in each of these
phases. It serves as a quality and progress measure, analysis and display tool.
Geographical support for the Business Register
Improving the geographical level of reporting is an ongoing challenge
for Stats SA. This entails reporting on lower levels of geography from a
national level to a provincial and municipal level.
During 2004, Geography Division was part of the death notifications coding by
place name. Current projects include the place name coding and update of the
business register (6,6 million records), support to the development of new
sampling methods and an investigation into the accurate reporting of business
data on municipal level.
Geography Division promotes geographical awareness for proper
utilisation of statistics linked to geography that can be used by other
organisations and communities. The Division supports a variety of clients both
within and outside the organisation. Internal clients include amongst others
Stats SA's censuses, surveys and provincial offices and external clients are
other government departments, spatial data users and non-governmental data