Posters delay and robbers mar Census 2011

By Simone Samuels Time of article published Oct 12, 2011

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Just days into the national count, logistical problems and opportunistic criminals have troubled Census 2011.

It was reported on Tuesday that two robbers, posing as census workers, robbed and shot at two men in Johannesburg, fleeing with money and other valuables.

Trevor Oosterwyk, Stats SA spokesman, said the incident was a cause for concern because it would make people fearful to participate.

Oosterwyk said Stats SA had made every effort to inform the public about ways to safeguard themselves against opportunists, but criminal activity could not be prevented unless people become more cautious.

Stats SA provincial manager, Nthabiseng Makhatha, said no incidents had been reported in KwaZulu-Natal, but she encouraged residents to take responsibility for their safety by verifying their enumerators’ identities by using the call centre number (0800 110 248), which appears on enumerator ID cards and posters.

However, the widely publicised “know your enumerator” posters have yet to be put up in many areas because of logistical problems.

She explained the printers had been unable to produce the posters on time, causing a delay with their distribution.

She could not determine when the posters would be put up.

Makhatha said Stats SA had insisted that all enumerators carry their ID cards, as these bear the same information that will appear in the “know you enumerator” posters and people could, therefore, use these to identify their enumerator.

However, there had been enumerators who were without ID cards at the start of census.

Statistician-general, Pali Lehohla, said some of the enumerators could not start working on Monday because they were still awaiting their ID cards.

Lehohla said this was because an additional 16 000 field workers had to be recruited after it was realised there were more people to be counted than expected.

He did, however, reassure the public the delays were not a cause for concern because there would be a two-week “mop-up” period after October 31, when the census ends.

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