- Just 58% of the Western Cape has participated in South Africa's 2022 population and household survey.
- That's lower than the national average and has been met with serious concern by the province's Premier Alan Winde.
- Sharing these concerns and also identifying a sudden uptick in online registrations from Western Cape households, Stats SA announced that data collection in the province would be extended to 14 May.
- Winde has urged households to take advantage of the two-week extension, warning that low participation will affect the province's budget allocation.
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Western Cape households have been granted a two-week extension to be counted in South Africa's 2022 population census after Stats SA flagged low participation rates in the province.
The 2022 census, undertaken by Stats SA to get an up-to-date understanding of the country's socio-economic dynamics, has seen around 165,000 fieldworkers deployed across South Africa's nine provinces. It's also the first census that allowed households to respond to the questionnaire online.
Counting South Africa's population started in the first week of February and was due to end in March, with a "mop-up" phase, whereby fieldworkers are deployed to incomplete enumeration areas, concluding on 14 April.
But this mop-up phase was extended to 30 April, with Stats SA reopening its online questionnaire in an attempt to gather as much information as possible before the deadline.
"Data collection challenges, particularly in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, which was heavily impacted by the recent extreme weather conditions, led to the decision to extend the census mop-up period to the end of April," explained Stats SA.
But the Western Cape's participation rate is still lagging behind the national average, with Premier Alan Winde warning that only 58% of the province had been counted by Thursday.
Following the premier's pleas and a surge in interest from Western Cape households, particularly in registering online, Stats SA announced on Thursday that the province would have until 14 May to participate in the census.
"With over 600,000 households yet to be visited, Western Cape households that have not been counted are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity," said Stats SA.
"Census information is essential for determining the funding allocation to provinces and municipalities. Census data will provide detailed information on where schools, clinics, and houses should be built and where electricity, water and sewerage infrastructure is needed. Census has an impact on the life of every resident, and everyone is encouraged to be counted."
Winde cited funding allocation and how it may be skewed or subdued as a result of poor participation in the province as a key reason for households to be counted.
"It's simple - if we are not fully counted, we will not get our fair share of the country's budget allocation to deliver critical services like schools, healthcare facilities and other public infrastructure," said Winde.
Households who have not been counted can go to https://getcounted.statssa.gov.za/#!/home and fill in their name, surname, and cellphone number. They will then get an OTP which will give them access to the census questionnaire.