Census: ‘massive’ exercise for october

2011-08-25 00:00

STATISTICS South Africa (StatsSA) is well prepared for the door-to-door 2011 census.

The official census, which takes place each decade, starts on October 10, but on the night of October 9 the enumerators will start counting “homeless” people.

KwaZulu-Natal StatsSA executive manager Nthabiseng Makhatha said the department has already identified areas where homeless people spend their nights.

She told The Witness that the province has 17 530 trained enumerators and 4 500 supervisors who will be working in the field from October 9 until October 31.

They will be easily identifiable by their yellow bibs, caps, bags and the identity cards around their necks.

She said the department is aware of security concerns, but it is appealing to everyone to welcome its officials to their homes because in the past they have been ill-treated, had guns pointed at them and been bitten by dogs.

“If there’s any reason a person feels suspicious about any of our officials they can call our toll-free number, 0800 100 248, for verification.

“We’re also advising people to answer the 75-question questionnaire truthfully,” she added.

The census aims to capture demographic data, numbers and the distribution and characteristics of people living within the borders of South Africa, even foreigners.

In the 1996 and 2001 censuses there were challenges with accessing highland areas, farms and informal settlements, but the department said it is confident that this year this will not be the case.

On the other hand, with people who might not be comfortable with giving out their personal information, Makhatha said, the officials are bound by an act that prohibits them from divulging any information to a third party.

“It is a criminal offence to divulge information obtained during the census and might lead to six months of imprisonment,” she added.

About R2 billion has been spent during this year’s census, 25 million printed questionnaires have been translated in the 11 official languages and over 13,5 million households are expected to be visited by the field workers nationally.

Makhatha told The Witness that the province is ready for this “massive operation”.

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