Census: don’t lie over money

2011-10-22 00:00

STATISTICS South Africa is urging people to disclose their “real” salary brackets after it was discovered that some individuals have been lying about how much they earn because they felt they may be disadvantaged by the state.

“It’s stupid to think that the disclosure of salaries to census officials may result in discrimination by the state,” said Stats SA spokesperson Trevor Oosterwyk, after people admitted to giving incorrect information to officials.

Notably in Phoenix and Chatsworth, people admitted anonymously that they did not disclose proper salaries for fear that their areas may be disadvantaged and essential services taken away.

One Phoenix resident said one reasons for being concerned about full disclosure is that his community will suffer.

“There has to be a bigger picture here and I think that averages will be taken in certain areas and services be focused on areas the state feels may need more.

“Phoenix is definitely a previously disadvantaged area, although there are some enterprising people who live here and earn well in spite of living in council-owned properties.

“We don’t want everyone to be short-changed, and so we can’t disclose our true earnings,” he said.

Responding to the concerns, Oosterwyk brushed it off as ludicrous.

“Statistics are not discussed with any department, not even the police — the role of a population and housing census is to collect, process and disseminate detailed statistics on population size, composition and distribution at small area levels,” he said.

Failure to participate in the programme, said Oosterwyk, will result in a R10 000 fine or six months’ imprisonment or both.

With 10 days to go for officials to complete the national population count, the programme has been plagued with problems that include opportunistic criminals taking advantage of the process.

In the most recent incident a KwaZulu-Natal resident was robbed by men posing as enumerators.

According to reports a homeowner in Durban’s Woodlands area was tied up and locked in his bathroom while the robbers rummaged through his home.

He said the suspects had yellow reflector bibs on, so he had no reason to doubt their identities.

“If you don’t want to have the field worker administer the questionnaire, you can complete it yourself,” said Oosterwyk.

“As long as you answer all those questions correctly …

“There should be no reason for households to put their personal safety in jeopardy.”

• rowan.sewchurran@witness.co.za

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