A lack of resources has put census work back so much that the counting will continue for three weeks more than originally planned. Statistics South Africa hopes that the extension will help fieldworkers reach the far-flung areas of the country for the first population count in 10 years.
Stats SA spokesperson Trevor Oosterwyk tells Food For Mzansi that Census 2022 did not start as well as they had anticipated. The counting, which was scheduled for 3 to 28 February, will now go on until mid-March.
“We had obstacles in getting cars for our fieldworkers to reach out to rural communities. Many car rental companies did not have enough cars for our workers to reach deep rural places, like in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. You will know that we need bakkies to reach such areas.
“Secondly, we had the obstacle of our fieldworkers. Following the training, some did not pass as we had to verify if the people we have recruited do not have criminal [records] and other things,” he said.
“We have over 100 000 fieldworkers already on the ground, so we are hoping that, following the extension and fixing all our challenges, we will be able to work to reach as many places as possible. This is an important task for us to do.”
The digital system being used by census workers also proved to be a challenge for fieldworkers. Oosterwyk, however, assured Food For Mzansi that this has been addressed.
“We would like to appeal to South Africans to use the online system. It is in this way that we will [make] the work of the team much easier. We also want to call on those who have turned our fieldworkers away and stated that they will do online registration to really do so.”
The number of households or farms visited will only be communicated after the census is concluded.
Mzansi reacts to extension
Some readers to whom Food For Mzansi spoke in a spot check, had not seen Census workers to date.
Ipeleng Ntshole from Lethabong in North West is one of them. “I am a community activist in my area. We are waiting to welcome those people and take them to our elders who live alone. Since the inception of the programme we have not seen any of the Stats SA people.”
Aganang Maruane from Kimberly in the Northern Cape did receive a visit from fieldworkers. “Yes, they have visited us at home and the process was a bit lengthy but, yes, I can confirm they came through.”
A farmer in Limpopo, Dimpho Pondo, said the census team had not reached her place but she was confident that in the coming three weeks her farm would be visited in Musina.
Oosterwyk believes the extension will allow the team to hit the ground running and meet the new deadline.
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