Census 2011: Be counted - or jailed

2011-10-21 08:37

Cape Town - An increasing number of South Africans are refusing to be counted in the census and could face jail time or a heavy fine.

Stats SA has now applied for court permission to enforce the provisions of the Statistics Act, the TimesLive reported on Friday.

Census 2011 runs from October 10 to 31 and citizens have to answer all questions put to them. If they refuse to comply, they could face a R10 000 fine or six months imprisonment.

Stats SA would not reveal how many people were refusing to participate but said warning letters would first be sent to people, informing them of the process and telling them what would happen if they refused to comply.

Legal action would only be taken after an assessment of the situation was made once the census was completed.

Residents of Moutse in Limpopo apparently refused to co-operate with census officials due to unhappiness that local people were not used as enumerators but officials say the issue has been resolved.

Have you been counted? Share your story with us:

  • Ian - 2011-10-21 08:46

    omg what a load of BS, your census workers havent even turned up at my place yet and I am ready to bet that they wont pitch, place your bets, there is no way they can count the entire country in 2 weeks, they are too uneducated to achieve that

      Karoo - 2011-10-21 08:59

      I agree 100% I live in a small town, easy to be counted have not seen anyone around town! The stats will not be correct and cannot be trusted. I know of nobody in our town that's counted yet and only 9 days left! Another money wasting exercise of this stupid government!

      Jeff - 2011-10-21 10:04

      They are more interested in counting blacks so that their lot can be improved.

      Rory - 2011-10-21 10:21

      Warning letters will be sent??? Have you seen the state of the postal service lately?? All in two weeks! Eish neva Eva ! huh ah.

      dane.son1 - 2011-10-22 23:24

      Its 3 weeks not 2 weeks and maybe they just haven't reached your area yet, hence the reason why the whole project is taking place over 3 weeks. And don't make silly comments like "they are too uneducated to achieve that" do you know each Census worker personally to make that kind of judgement? You are entitled to your own opinion but don't make personal judgements of character of people you've never met before.

  • Daryn - 2011-10-21 08:47

    All good and well, but i STILL don't feel comfortable telling them if/how many TV's DVD systems, washing machines etc. I can not see how the number of TVs I own or if I have a vacuum cleaner will give them an idea of how to improve schooling in my area. If they focused on JUST the pertinent info, like how many people in the household then cool.

      valsmall - 2011-10-21 08:57

      We've done the census and the questions re appliances is simply do you have, not how many.

      marschoeman - 2011-10-21 08:59

      I agree with you Daryn. There was an interview with the head of the census over the radio, and he said that you do not have to invite census workers into your house. I asked for the form to fill it in myself, as I do not want unknown people in my house. Then of course I did not fill in anything that I do not feel is relevant to the census. The part of what I have in my house, will turn into a shopping list for criminals. I can almost guarantee that robberies will go up because of the answers submitted. Also, what has this to do with the census? Census is about counting people in order to make sure that services can be provided. I feel that the form should have 2 questions: How many people live on the property, and what are the ages.

      justin.schonegevel - 2011-10-21 13:55

      Well they can work out how many people pay TV licences and how many people have access to cleaning services etc. well they don't really care how many tv's you have. Even I know you have a Flat screen TV, DVD player, DSTV with a dish on give away! you must have jewelery, a sterio, most probably DVD's and CD's a Laptop (everyone has one) mobile phone or two depending on the number of people. So is there a reason to not say how much you have? they know anyway. They will still have to break into your house etc and would have decided to do that census or no census? Criminals are not stupid! I would say they pretty clever at times!

      siranne.vanonselen - 2011-10-21 15:39

      I agree 100%...they should just be asking for pertinent info

  • badballie - 2011-10-21 08:49

    oooooh is scared!, the stats sa is getting all heavy!!!, so lock me up, no law can under any circumstances infringe on my democratic right to PRIVACY. The hypocrisy in this country extends to white elitist entitlement too apparently. I don't mind being a guest of the state for 6 months and really the best you pigs will do is maybe a R50.00 a month contribution to my fine.

      Deon - 2011-10-21 09:23

      It might be a bit difficult to pay off a fine when you are in jail. Just fill in the form it can take as little as 20 minutes.

  • Michael - 2011-10-21 08:51

    Shocking! We must all do our bit or face the consequences.

      Gestoffle - 2011-10-22 00:46

      you a pr1ck, never liked your comment...seems others agree.

  • kerrimg - 2011-10-21 08:55

    a person who commits murder is out on 500 bail and if you dont fill in the form you can face jail of 10 000.00 this is crazy. i havnt been counted yet dont know if they been to the house and nothing is indicated. i work until 7 at night and i know they dont come roung at night. my question they meant to count how many ppl live at the house not on the contents on the house. its got nothing to do with them............

  • micky.scheepers - 2011-10-21 08:58

    No problem with being counted!!! But that is all they need to know, I can send them a letter or an email and they will know all they need to know about my household. What about the people who have filled in paperwork with the census people and been robbed 3 days later??? Oh, how many people live in your home? 2 And you both work? yes Great, all we need to do now is show up between 8am and 5pm, no one will be home....

      Barend - 2011-10-21 11:11

      @Marion... People are paranoid for a reason. That is all that should rign a bell for you. Cheers

  • cobus123456 - 2011-10-21 09:00

    I saw Census officials sitting in a library filling census forms. So how accurate could this be

      Hildegard - 2011-10-21 09:14

      Did you report this?

      Penny - 2011-10-21 09:45

      When I was a cencus worker about 30 years ago I and the other counters would "finish" filling in the form away from someones home - we didn't need to waste their time dotting the i's and crossing the t's in their presence. Until you know what they were filling in don't assume it was false info.

      Heinrich - 2011-10-21 10:01

      Penny, I have seen with my own eyes how data capturers captures the same form multiple times and then discards a bundle of other forms. The information gathered and after processing is by no means anywhere near accurate.

  • Gavin - 2011-10-21 09:01

    To me a census is how many people live here, are they male or female, and how how old are they. Not have you worked for more than an hour in the last month why don't you want to work etc.

      Thelma - 2011-10-21 09:11

      Gavin they forgot an add in "don't fit the BEE/AA criteria" option!

  • swessels1 - 2011-10-21 09:05

    Its almost the end of the month and no one has come to count me. Not my problem. They should come to me not me to them

  • maritza.meyer - 2011-10-21 09:05

    They can count me, but they aint counting whats inside my house.. Its got absolutely NOTHING to do with them!

  • Alan - 2011-10-21 09:06

    What I understand froma circular ADT sent out, you only have to answer how many people are living at the address. Other questions re optional. Can anybody clarify?

  • paul.tenbokum - 2011-10-21 09:07

    C'mon people! The govt needs this in for to make important decisions about the future of all South Africans. Is this forum populated by the lunatic fringe? Please get over your racist paranonoia. Make sure the census worker is bona fide, answer the questions and move on.

      Wayne - 2011-10-21 10:29

      It is not the Census thats the problem, being counted is my obligation as a citizen of SA, but having to provide irrelevant inforamtion such as the number of rooms in my house or whether I have DSTV or ADSL or do I have TV and a DVD player, please explain to me how this has relevance to the population demographics of the country.

  • robbie.crouch - 2011-10-21 09:09

    And what happens when you request to fill in the form in your own time as the website states you may but the enumerator refuses to give you the documents!

      Rohin - 2011-10-21 23:54

      contact them and advise accordingly. having checked the enumerator's legitimacy you have their details. Part of rooting out the problem is standing up and say stop - do it properly or don't do it.

  • marco.tomaso - 2011-10-21 09:09

    There is a very good reason for doing the Census count it being mainly how public services ie water,electricity,rubbish disposal,medical care,educational establishments are distributed in the local government setup.How many people living per area per doctor or school teacher means how doctors,nurses,hospitals,schools are run or if new ones needs be built etc. It's a very serious and important thing his Census thing so you can better manage your own country's population and their needs.If you don't know who and how many people live in your country and why they are there if they not a national or a citizen of the country,then it could cause other seriuos problems later on if you have natural disasters for example or an outbreak of some disease or anything of that nature the government has to take count of. If you have nothing to hide then just do the count,fill in the forms and sent it back.

      Merven - 2011-10-21 10:05

      "It's a very serious and important thing his Census thing so you can better manage your own country's population and their needs" What a load of crap, if they stop doing corruption, the country's problems are over already. Now they are looking for answers everywhere except at their own back door, bothering the public.

  • blakat - 2011-10-21 09:09

    .... and if the Census people haven't been to your house yet?

      jeanpierre.dumont - 2011-10-21 21:26

      There are still 10 days left!!!

      JR.lenoir - 2011-10-21 22:00

      I'm also still waiting. I saw the Census people earlier in the week but now nothing.

  • MissGremlin - 2011-10-21 09:10

    I must confess, that despite my attempts to be a good citizen, the census has got me grumpy. having to answer questions about whether or not I have dstv, a radio, a tv, a video recorder in my house, and how much I earn, is like offering an open invitation for trouble. Putting on the form, how the census taker can be prosecuted for abusing the information is no deterrant at all, because we all know that our justice and legal systems simply are to overwhelmed to cope with identity theft or house breaking.

  • BigBoer - 2011-10-21 09:10

    Man , sounds like a communist government. Do what we say or go to the jail. Maybe all the information will go to China ?

  • yaarik - 2011-10-21 09:12


  • yolijvv - 2011-10-21 09:15

    I don't mind being counted, but i do mind being asked how many appliances i have, or if i have a vegetable garden, or why the hell my parents decided to move from the free state to gauteng when i was freaking 5years old... and there is no way i want people to know how much income we make!!! WTF!!!!

      robbie.crouch - 2011-10-21 09:36

      King David also did a Census in his time and the purpose was to tax the people... he had a revolt on his hands as I recall. Income on sensus form has nothing to do with a census... that info is already available at SARS!

      yolijvv - 2011-10-21 21:52

      and not to mention that all these personal questions suddenly appear after the government mentioned a "white person tax"

  • Koos - 2011-10-21 09:16

    On can take human lives, extort millions of funds of other peoples money, rape and pillage...but dare the citizenry default on their television license or refuse to take part in a census...and the threat is a jail term in one of the most inhumane corrections facilities in the world.

  • Bryan - 2011-10-21 09:16

    I agree wholeheartedly with having a Census. Oxford dictionary meaning of the word,'Census..An official count/ especially of a population'...That is all they have to know. Unfortunately this is not the case here in S.A. Where I work, what I earn and what I have in my home has nothing to do with anyone but myself. So, please come and count my family and I..but that is all you will get. Sorry, but all the corruption, fraud and crime in our day to day lives has just made me a sceptic about the entire process...Happy Friday people:-)

  • Victor - 2011-10-21 09:16

    That's ridiculous. Take me to court, I will not give my co-operation untill the government gives answers bout the billion Rand dissapearence of the tax payers money yearly and about the weapon scandall. Request for info goes to both sides.

  • delme.cupido - 2011-10-21 09:16

    SARS already know what you earn, so it serves no real purpose to refuse to answer questions about income. unless, of course, you're a tax dodging criminal. .

      Heiku - 2011-10-21 09:25

      You. Are. An. Idiot.

      Chris - 2011-10-21 09:27

      Quite right, SARS knows what I earn, and government can look it up (in theory anyway). Now explain to me why I must give this information to some random person again, hell, I don't share details of what I earn with my closest friends but now must give it to someone I don't even know asking me on behalf of government, who already have this info?

  • Wayne - 2011-10-21 09:20

    I do not have a problem with being counted, it is something that I feel is relavant to the management of the country, knowing how many people are there in SA, their ages and a per household number. But WTF has 'how many rooms do I have in my house', and 'do I have DSTV' or 'do I have adsl', not to mention, my monthly income. WTF do these facts have to do with population demographics.Well IMO it is so the gov can plan where they can can charge more rates and taxes based on what you own and where you will pay less based on what you do not have.

  • Jaba - 2011-10-21 09:21

    1930's Germany. nough siad

  • Sean - 2011-10-21 09:21

    So, the census okie puts the form in my gate. I complete it and put it back in the gate hoping he will collect it. If he doesn't, will the Gov spank me? As a good citizen, I play by the rules, but honestly, this census cannot hold much value. My live in maid must be counted as a separate entity. She didn't get a form, she wasn't interviewed by the census okie. Already, after one household the figures do not gel. The Census may be important, but the way they are going about it, makes the result highly questionable and thus of little value.

  • Derk - 2011-10-21 09:27

    45 million people to be counted,better start building more jails

  • rudie.stoltz - 2011-10-21 09:28

    I will refuse to comply. My financial records has nothing to do with this goverment.

  • Kathy - 2011-10-21 09:31

    In the previous census, forms were sealed in an envelope (provided by the enumerator) by the homeowner after completion. Hopefully so that individual homes could not be targeted by the less-than-honest enumerators. Another very worrying issue is, why did our enumerator insist that info be filled in by pencil? Can the info not be erased or changed?

      robbie.crouch - 2011-10-21 09:54

      Exactly... this census has been done back to front.

  • milanrenaud - 2011-10-21 09:31

    Idiots! My country is populated by uneducated morons! Racist ones! Don't want to be counted? Go live somewhere else. Why does the government need a census? Any of you illiterate imbeciles figured that out yet? As far as your secret income goes, you prove yourselves utterly moronic. The government has access to your tax returns and bank accounts. They also know where you are every second of every day. Don't believe me? Try thinking for a change. You may find yourselves educated and less hostile to logic.

      Rory - 2011-10-21 09:51

      “Freedom is something that dies unless it's used.” ? Hunter S. Thompson. You need to stop sniffing that country "air" boet! Take a chill pill china, relax, breathe.... ghee gheee whhooooooo! gee gheee whhoooooo! Better? And I agree with you that my country is populated by uneducated morons though! Spot on! But the illiterate part is a bit confusing? This is a written word website isn't it? Therefore, ergo, ipso facto.......ummm, ja.

      milanrenaud - 2011-10-21 10:10

      Rory- I deserved that. First laugh I've had today. Muchas gracias!

  • Chris - 2011-10-21 09:32

    A lot of people attending our CPF Sector meeting last night have indicated that they refuse to let the people in or supply some of the information that is being requested. Clearly they are concerned for their safety and security because of the stories that are emerging on a daily basis. Best possible plan for the Government to overcome this problems is for them to provide each enumerator with a police clearance certificate. The information they are garnering is important for future planning but I would suggest that they look to their existing pool of data from all their departments to fill in the questions they think are they need answers for. Just a pity that once again voters confidence in another government process is distrusted.

      milanrenaud - 2011-10-21 09:51

      What stories are emerging on a daily basis? Elucidate.

  • Craig - 2011-10-21 09:33

    My enumerator came around yesterday. He was pleasant and friendly, and the whole exercise couldn't have lasted more than ten minutes. He also said the income question was voluntary but I answered it anyway as SARS already knows what I earn. I didn't feel any of the other questions were particularly intrusive. All round not an unpleasant experience at all.

  • Final.Punishment - 2011-10-21 09:34

    I don't want to be bothered!!!

  • Gammat - 2011-10-21 09:36

    They just don't know how a colored ou can lieg. I get 50 rand a day nuh..

  • Tennille - 2011-10-21 09:38

    @ Andrew and Thelma, do you know how much it costs to do a census? Do you think they just willynilly put questions on there for the hell of it? Each and every answer provides information that is required by the government, private sector and foreign investors. Why can you not for a second think beyond your own insecurity about how much you earn, and extend that to how that information is valuable? The last census was 10 years ago, can we agree that a LOT has changed since then? What people earn is used to estimate the viability of certain markets, to track trends and see whether progress has been made, and how we compare to other countries etc. The earning and spending power of a country is pretty critical to its economy, and having recent information about it attracts foreign investment and helps local businesses plan future growth. If you want to hold the country back while moaning about how nothing gets done, you can pat yourself on the back for helping with our downfall by not participating in the census. So yes, I think a hefty fine is in order.

      Chris - 2011-10-21 10:35

      This is all fine and wonderful, but government already has all my financial information on record, what exactly is your reasoning as to why I should share this all over again with some stranger coming into my house? Government's inability to connect their own records into useful data now constitutes reason to fine me 10 grand?

  • dssteyn - 2011-10-21 09:39

    The Census enumerators in my area have been striking and Toyi Toying outside Monte Casino the last week and a half. Not sure how they are going to get through their allotted house visits. Let alone prove that they actually did visit my residence. Good luck taking me to task for that.

  • Debbie - 2011-10-21 09:40

    What a joke! I didn't know it was a crime to protect my right to privacy! R10k or 6 mnths jail for not telling some stranger my life story! I think not!!!

  • Lawrence - 2011-10-21 09:42

    These Census workers aren't very bright... I was asked whether I was male or female. WTF? Probably the little black number and heels I had on that confused her.

  • Deon - 2011-10-21 09:43

    They are only interested in stats for the whole country and will use this for planning. Private companies also can make use of these stats. If you are a gun for hire tell them, the indiv. info is safe (we hope).

  • shaun.terblanche - 2011-10-21 09:44

    Thats funny you guys should say that. They come around while we are working and then ask the elderly neighbours why we arnt at home. Thats cause its wasting tax payers money again. When they are asked why they dont come in the eveings like they used to she got told we don't work overtime. How creditable are these stats gonna be then any way. 90% OF US WORK TO STAY ALIVE ?????

  • mskittylicious - 2011-10-21 09:44

    They're more than welcome to count me....they just aren't getting any of my personal information.

  • Adele - 2011-10-21 09:46

    They delivered the forms saying they would collect them two days later. A week later the completed forms are still lying on my kitchen counter. Anybody know where they can be dropped off?

  • solanga.maluleke - 2011-10-21 09:46

    No one who will be arrested every one got his own right they have got right to steal our tax and they are not arrested why should those who does not want to be counted arrested. Our IDS have been sold to foreigners let them count those foreigners only cause they are selling drugs and robbing banks here.

  • Oboa - 2011-10-21 09:46

    Why ask me hom many rooms I have, do I have a cellphone and what make and if I have a vacuum cleaner?? In this case I'll answer all their questions but I WILL LIE! My salary has F$CKALL to do with them.

  • janjac.gilbert - 2011-10-21 09:48

    Catch the criminals, leave us hardworking, honest taxpayers alone. Put the people that abuse our money in jail.

  • Frikkie - 2011-10-21 09:50


  • Thulebona - 2011-10-21 09:52

    Sorry for my earlier racist rant. I am a good person once you get to know me.

  • Hilette Hyland - 2011-10-21 09:55

    What is the point of being counted - it's not as if the government supplies any public service as it is!!!! I agree with @johanvdberg, let them in once and you become a statistic of crime not of the census! They haven't even been to my place of residence yet, so why should I be punished for something that is not my fault! Rather focus on criminals & the lack of service in this country!

  • Barbara - 2011-10-21 09:56

    I personally also don't like to be counted in this day and age - however it is a requirement and so I do the next best thing in terms of compliance and to avoid unnecessary agro and stress and trying to beat the system. With respect to the emotional comments on what appliances are in the house - these give an "indication" of the living standards levels overall in the country and so that SA can be benchmarked against the rst of the continent and world. No-one is interested in how many of what you and neither are you asked to specify condition Also, this is being done country wide to approx 50 million people statistically, so no-one has the time and energy to single out indivuals for targeting. The info is fed into a computer to get a nationwide indication of our standards and where the poor are and where expenditure is required to provide services and infrastructure. No-one gives a stuff what you earn. If you live in a middle class or higher class neighbourhood, it is expected you will earn accordingly. So who are you kidding by pretending to be outragred in providing information within ranges - no-one is asking for exact figures and no-one is going to verify them. Grow Up

  • Setshwaelo - 2011-10-21 09:56

    It's very worrying in the manner in which people can turn a minor thing into a VERY BIG issue. The fact remains that census should be done and everybody residing within the borders of SA Republic should participate. There are reasons why questions are listed there and allow census workers do their work without infringements. Our young democracy is always tainted negatively and mainly by 'capitalists' behind silly concerns. This is executed in good faith of building a better future for please be wise and be counted.

      Beatrix - 2011-10-22 08:48

      Oh please get real. WE DO NOT MIND BEING COUNTED. We mind all the personal questions!! Are they really necessary. The questions should have been. How many people lived in your house and perhaps the ages, so new schools can be build, but nothing else.

      riaz.moola - 2011-10-28 15:41

      Yes, 3 years of planning and millions of rands spent on a census that asks 2 questions: 1.) How many people lived in your house 2.) What are their ages How very useful. 'Personal' questions are necessary. What exactly do you have to hide? What are you afraid of if the gov knows if you have a computer or not?