The Census 2022 in South Africa encountered significant obstacles in the Western Cape, primarily due to racial discrimination. Statistics South Africa recently revealed that some of its black and colored field workers were prohibited from entering specific households, leading to delays in data collection.
Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke addressed the Parliament’s portfolio committee on planning, monitoring, and evaluation, shedding light on the hurdles experienced during Census 2022. In the City of Cape Town, the metropolitan area with the largest population, the recruitment of field workers posed a challenge. Residents cited low wages as a deterrent, resulting in a shortage of workers.
Maluleke presented key trends emerging from the Census data, highlighting the impact of these challenges on the data collection process. He noted that the City of Cape Town is home to 65% of the population, predominantly consisting of the white population group. However, their reluctance to participate in fieldwork due to perceived low pay further complicated the situation.
To overcome these obstacles, Statistics South Africa had to seek field workers from other parts of the Western Cape. Unfortunately, some field workers in the region were unwilling to engage with the colored or black population groups, impeding the Census’s progress.
The Census 2022 incurred costs of approximately R3.2 billion, marking a significant increase from the R10.32c per capita cost in 1996, which surged to R64 in 2022. These challenges highlight the complexities and disparities encountered in data collection, emphasizing the need for continued efforts to address such issues in future censuses.