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Western Cape challenged by census count

The census count occurs every 10 years but it was delayed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency(ANA)

The census count occurs every 10 years but it was delayed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Apr 28, 2022

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Cape Town - Few fieldworkers, reluctance to be counted, hard to reach and violence-prone areas have made counting Western Cape residents a challenge in Census 2022.

Statistics SA (StatsSA) chief director Patrick Kelly said a little over 3 000 fieldworkers from the province were appointed and a further nearly 2 000 from outside of the province have been brought in to assist with this year’s count.

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Kelly said the biggest challenge in the province has been insufficient number of fieldworkers. High levels of crime and gang violence has also made it difficult to reach residents.

“It’s dangerous to send field workers into those areas. We do work with the local police to check when it may be safe but the safety of our staff is more important than getting an additional questionnaire,” Kelly said.

In rural parts of the province, getting appropriate vehicles to move through dirt tracks and farm areas brought about another challenge which was later resolved.

“We do have quite high levels relative to the rest of the country of refusals (to be counted) in the Western Cape and these have been increasing over the last number of weeks.

“It is actually a legal obligation for people to complete the census questionnaire and we really do appeal to residents to allow the fieldworkers to interview them.”

The census count occurs every 10 years but it was delayed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Premier Alan Winde has sounded the alarm on the lagging behind of the province in the nationwide count.

“According to StatsSA, those counted in the Western Cape stand at approximately 55.5%, while the average number counted in the country stands at 87%,” Winde said.

“If it stays this way, we will be perceived to have a lower population than we actually have, despite significant population growth, and this will impact budget allocations through the Provincial Equitable Share and other allocations and resources raised nationally.”

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Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis added: “As the City of Cape Town, we have an important role to play in the census, and each Capetonian and their household must be accurately counted. I appeal to every Capetonian to ensure that they are counted.”

Data collection ends on Saturday and households can complete the questionnaire online before, on the StatsSA website.

To partake in the census. click here: https://getcounted.statssa.gov.za/#!/home

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