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Concern as census count increases but remains too low in the Western Cape

The Western Cape could suffer the loss of R9.7billion, or more than 16% of the provincial equitable share of the national budget, if only 70% of residents get counted in the 2022 Census. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

The Western Cape could suffer the loss of R9.7billion, or more than 16% of the provincial equitable share of the national budget, if only 70% of residents get counted in the 2022 Census. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 6, 2022

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Cape Town - The Western Cape could suffer the loss of R9.7billion, or more than 16% of the provincial equitable share of the national budget, if only 70% of residents get counted in the 2022 Census.

Projections by the Provincial Treasury indicate that the province could lose funding equivalent to 1615 doctors or 5981 nurses, and more than 9 300 teachers if only 70% of residents get counted, Premier Alan Winde said in a statement released on Thursday.

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“This would shave off R2.6bn in funding our health budget and R4.2 bn off our education budget, with smaller departments also suffering losses. In short, service delivery in the Western Cape will suffer a major blow, across the board, if residents do not make sure they are counted,” Winde said.

StatsSA has extended the counting period in the province until May 14, with residents able to complete the questionnaire online on the StatsSA website.

“To put it simply, if we only manage to count 70% of the population, the available spending per person would be reduced by more than R1300 per person, per annum, in the provincial equitable share,” Winde said.

StatsSA chief director Patrick Kelly previously said the low count was due to several factors, including few fieldworkers, reluctance to be counted, being hard to reach and violence-prone areas.

“We currently have covered 61% of expected households in the Western Cape – that means we have just under 40% of households still to enumerate for the census,” Kelly said.

“We are seeing much better progress in the Central Karoo, Garden Route and the Overberg. The City of Cape Town and the Winelands areas, which are the most populous parts of the province, are those where the coverage is a bit lower.

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“We are now working with our local teams to target those areas with high numbers of dwelling units that have not yet been visited by census workers,” he said.

More than 3 000 fieldworkers from the province have been appointed and nearly 2 000 fieldworkers from outside have come in to assist. No more fieldworkers will be hired at this point.

Kelly said they saw a significant increase in the uptake of questionnaires, following the move to bring in additional fieldworkers from outside the province.

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