South Africa in line for first ever digital census

File picture: Ross Jansen / Independent Media.

File picture: Ross Jansen / Independent Media.

Published Aug 9, 2020


Pretoria - Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) will conduct a trial this week for the first ever digital census to be conducted in the country, Stats SA said on Sunday.

The Census 2021 trial, scheduled to start on August 10 and run to September 6 in selected areas around the country, would test online and telephonic data collection to prepare for remote data collection in the upcoming Census 2021, Stats SA said in a statement.

"Census 2021 is the first population count to introduce digital census-taking through the use of online and telephonic data collection platforms, which will also allow respondents to complete the census questionnaire on their own."

The telephonic data collection made provision for respondents to participate in the census with the assistance of a Stats SA call centre agent. The increased use of cellphones and the current technology-driven digital era would minimise the problems of reaching hard to access communities, thus allowing more people to participate in the census.

Participating in the Census 2021 trial required respondents to register through a platform available on Stats SA online and social media platforms. Respondents may also contact Stats SA via the toll-free number 0800-110-248 for further assistance.

"A census provides small area data on demographics, socio-economic, and living conditions of the population. It assists with forming the basis for active community participation in reviewing access to public services, among other issues. Data collected through a census is used by the government and different sectors of society for policy formulation, decision-making, and planning."

Stats SA derived its mandate from the Statistics Act to collect data for statistical purposes and to conduct a census. The Act made it mandatory for respondents to provide data when required. Data collected by Stats SA was only used for statistical purposes and may not be shared with the state or any organs of the state and it remained confidential, the Stats SA statement said.

- African News Agency (ANA), editing by Jacques Keet

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