Poor response in the Western Cape threatens budget allocations, the integrity of the 2022 census

Gallo Pictures / Misha Jordaan

  • Only 70% of the Western Cape households have been counted.
  • This poses a threat to the 2022 census as a whole.
  • The underestimation will affect the budget allocations to the province.

The Statistics Council – the advisory body of Statistics SA – says underreporting in the Western Cape is a threat to the integrity of the 2022 census as a whole and will affect national budget allocations to the province, municipalities and district councils.

Only 70% of families in the Western Cape were enumerated, the council said, and appealed to people to be counted as it is in their personal interest. The council says the problem is “specific” to the province and has not appeared in all systems or provinces.

Council chairman David Everatt and head of the population and methodology committee Nompumulelo Ndzimande said:

“The risk of a significantly under-enumerated province is that the census as a whole will be damaged and the data required by the government for new local initiatives – such as district development – will simply not be available in low-count locations. If people don’t tell us. what they need – or what they don’t need or don’t want! – Stats SA cannot advise any government accordingly. “

Although statisticians use a “post-enumeration survey” to determine the extent of an undercount, which together with a demographic analysis of the data helps to correct the coverage error, the Council is not convinced that this will be enough. .

“It is inevitable that the current omission of families and individuals in the Western Cape will affect the total count, including demographic, social and economic information, as well as information on the housing conditions of people living in the Western Cape. It is important to note that the results of the census are the basis for budget allocations between local, provincial and national governments. The repercussions of the prevailing underestimation are worrying for the planning and provision of services in the province “, reads a statement.

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The counting period in the Western Cape has been extended to 14 May.

In the rest of the country, the census is approaching the end of the round-up activities. The council said it was for the most part encouraged by good completion rates despite rain, floods, Covid-19 and a shortage of rental cars.