Stats SA must stop shifting blame on poor participation in #Census2022

Issued by Zakhele Mbhele MP – DA Shadow Minister for the Presidency
19 May 2022 in News

Please find attached English and isiZulu soundbites by Zakhele Mbhele MP.

The DA finds it reprehensible that Stats SA in the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration yesterday blamed people of the Western Cape for their failure in conducting this year’s census effectively.

The DA is calling on Stats SA to urgently intensify a leveraged advertising and publicity campaign, that involves the Western Cape government, to ensure that residents in the Province are fully informed to participate in the 2022 census before the 31st of May deadline.

A comprehensive and targeted campaign in the Province will help to eliminate the risk of low public awareness, while increasing the participation rate among households.

Because the Western Cape government (WCG) was acutely aware that service delivery in this province will suffer due to the apparent low participation rate, the WCG as well as the City of Cape Town have embarked on their own paid campaigns to ensure that the residents of the Western Cape get counted.

From the comments made by the Statistician-General Risenga Maluleka yesterday, it is clear they are blaming “racism” and not their own organisational challenges for the low count so far in the Western Cape.

Blaming “racism” by “coloured and white people” in the Western Cape is reminiscent of Jimmy Manyi’s “coloured people are over-represented in the Western Cape” comment.

The DA rejects this “red herring” argument with the contempt it deserves, which side-steps their own planning and management deficiencies.

Instead of blaming the Western Cape, the DA believes that serious questions should be asked about Stats SA’s clear lack of enhanced advocacy campaigns.

While Stats SA received nearly a billion rand more for the 2022 Census, it has spent 27% less on promoting this Census compared to the 2011/12 Census.

According to the 2011/2012 Annual Report, Stats SA expenditure for the 2011 Census was as follows:

  • R2.2 billion total budget for the census;
  • R700 million set aside as compensation for the enumerators;
  • R161 million spent on advertising.

Of the R3.1 billion budget for the 2022 Census, the 2020/21 Stats SA Annual report shows that only R44 million was spent for advertising the national Census in 2021. Even if more was spent to advertise the Census since the report was published, it seems clear that much less publicity around the Census was done.

Stats SA also contradicted themselves in the committee yesterday, saying that they take full ownership of the whole census process.

How then could they possibly try to shift blame predominantly onto residents of the Western Cape?