Zuma: Census shows blacks still worst off

2012-10-30 09:14

President Jacob Zuma has urged government departments and state entities to use the results of the 2011 census to properly plan, implement and introduce policies that will improve the lives of ordinary South Africans.

Zuma bemoaned the fact that the census results showed that black people were the main population group confronted with poverty, unemployment and inequality, despite progress made in service delivery initiatives.

The results showed that there were 51 770 560 people living in South Africa in 2011 with Gauteng surpassing KwaZulu-Natal as the most populated province in the country with over 12.2 million people.

The results also showed that the South African population increased from 40.5 million people in 1996 to 44.8 people in 2001, with the population growing by almost 7 million people between 2001 and 2011.

Black people constituted 79% of the population, followed by whites at 8.9%, coloured people with 8.9%, while Indians and Asians accounted for 2.5%.

Zuma said the results would be used to ensure that the distribution of government services was equitable among all the provinces and districts.

“We are dealing here with serious challenges where the majority of our people continue to travel long distances for services.

“The progress that the census tells us from 1994 to now should be contextualised with a need for quicker service delivery and faster turnaround time,” said Zuma.

The census also laid a solid foundation to provide evidence about the progress made since democracy in 1994, he said.

The results showed that people were migrating in large numbers from provinces such as Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal to Gauteng and the Western Cape.

This could possibly be attributed to higher economic activity in these two provinces, Zuma said.

“Although there is improved access to water at nine out of 10 households who have access to water, the 2011 census also shows that there are still gaps that need to be addressed,” he said.

He also bemoaned the use of paraffin by 7.5% of households, a figure which has not changed since the last census in 2001.

“The usage of electricity as the main source for cooking had increased from 45% to 73% between 1996 and 2011.

“However, the use of paraffin still remains at 7.5% of all households as their main source of energy. We know the dangers of this type of energy, especially for those of us who live in shack settlements, constituting almost 13% of households in South Africa. “Data tells us that 85 % of all households in South Africa use electricity for lighting,” said Zuma. He said that it was heartening that the proportion of people who completed higher education had increased from 7.1% in 1996 to 12.3% in 2011. “These figures tell us that at the bottom of the rung is the black majority who continue to be confronted by deep poverty, unemployment and inequality, despite the progress that we have made since 1994,” Zuma said. “At the same time, it is evident from the Census 2011 results that great strides have been made in improving the lives of many South Africans. Access to basic services such as piped water, electricity and refuse removal have more than doubled over the period 1996-2011.”

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