Statistics South Africa routinely compiles cause of death statistics as part of the function of the national statistical office. The statistics are based on the information provided by medical practitioners on the notice of death required for registration by the Department of Home Affairs. Comprehensive death statistics are reported annually and started as far back as 19261. Reports were produced regularly for the period 1926 – 1938, followed by intermittent reports for the period 1938 – 1962. Figures for whites cover the entire period but those for coloureds and Asians are available only from 1938 onwards. Information about deaths of Africans occurring in the principal municipalities are available from 1941 until 1987 when a separate report series was introduced. In 1992, after the repeal of the Population Registration Act, the cause of death statistics were reported for all groups combined in a single report. The most recent year for full cause of death statistics is 1996.Statistics South Africa are currently analysing a 15% sample of deaths certificates for 1997 – 2001 so as to provide more timely statistics of the causes of death.