By Dipo Olowookere
Mr Risenga Maluleke has been announced as the new Statistician-General and Head of Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).
Minister in the Presidency, Mr Jeff Radebe, making the announcement on Friday, stated that Maluleke will resume office on November 1, 2017, when Dr Pali Lehohla’s tenure expires at the end of October.
Mr Maluleke has served within Stats SA for 20 years, having joined Stats SA as a manager at Limpopo provincial office in 1997.
He is currently a Deputy Director-General (DDG) for Statistical Collections and Outreach. His portfolio is responsible for Provincial Offices (responsible data collection for censuses and sample surveys), International Statistical Development as well as Communications, Marketing and Stakeholder Relations.
The Statistics Act 6 of 1999 prescribes under Section 6 that the President appoints an appropriately qualified person as the Statistician-General who is also the head of Stats SA. Section 2 on the purpose of the Act says the purpose “is to advance the planning, production, analysis, documentation, storage, dissemination and use of official and other statistics.” The Act makes provision for “the Statistician-General as head of Statistics South Africa and Section 7 outlines the duties of such a person amongst which are the collection, compilation and analysis of official statistics in accordance with the purpose of official statistics and the statistical principles, conducting a population census and coordination among producers of statistics. Further, the Statistician-General is to “establish a Statistics Council and provide for its functions; to repeal certain legislation; and to provide for connected matters”.
Mr Maluleke’s extensive experience in the organisation is backed by his qualifications: BSc (Mathematical Statistics) – University of Limpopo, MPhil (Urban and Regional Science) – Stellenbosch University. He has also completed Senior Executive Programmes with Wits and Harvard Business Schools.
On learning of the appointment of his successor, his outgoing predecessor Dr Lehohla said, “In Risenga Maluleke I had a trusted and enduring partner with whom over a quarter of a century we engaged in the most daring of leadership missions to construct what has become the most iconic institution of the state.
“Whilst matters of appointment of a Statistician-General are prescribed in law and are not for an outgoing Statistician-General, I am distinctly pleased by the choice the leadership has made. I can now safely disclose what I said to Dr Benny Mokaba 21 years ago after the panel interviewed and decided to appoint Risenga Maluleke in October 1996 to the Statistics Office in Limpopo.
“I called Benny and said to him ‘today we have appointed a new head for the Central Statistics Service in the making.’
“In Risenga we have a well-grounded leader with balance, instilling fairness and justice in all his dealings, he has enduring strength, he imbues humility, he is a servant leader, a village boy who with agility adapts to metropoles of the world, and who is ready to take on any adversity with a singularly determined mind for finding solutions. My success in leading and building this mighty organisation would not have been possible if Risenga was not leading with me in the most treacherous of waters. My relay is done, I am passing the baton to a well-tested professional and leader.”
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