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Statistics SA starts recruitment and training programme for 165 000 contract staffers for this year's Census

Thabo Makgoga from Stats SA scans documents from the Department of Home Affairs. Picture: Masi Losi

Thabo Makgoga from Stats SA scans documents from the Department of Home Affairs. Picture: Masi Losi

Published Jan 20, 2022

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DURBAN - Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) has revealed that it would be employing more than 160 000 staff on a contract basis for the upcoming census, beginning next month.

Stats SA spokesperson, Trevor Oosterwyk, said the recruitment and training programme for these employees has begun.

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“Stats SA will employ around 165 000 contract staff across the country for Census 2022. Training is provided for field staff and recruitment, and training is currently under way. In some areas such as Durban, it already is under way,” Oosterwyk said.

The Statistics Act (Act 6 of 1999) requires Stats SA to gather data for official statistics and to conduct a census. In the act, the statistician general is entrusted with keeping the data confidential in a manner that is not likely “to enable the identification of a specific individual, business or other organisation”.

Oosterwyk said Stats SA had introduced the use of tablets to collect data, and this allows data to be captured in real-time, which also encompasses remote data collection, which can either be online or by telephone. However, remote collection would include the completion of zero-rated questionnaires.

“Respondents choosing self-enumeration, where they complete the questionnaire in the comfort of their homes, online (which will use no data). However, they will need to register with Stats SA so that they can access the online questionnaire and complete the required information or; they may choose to be interviewed over the telephone. They also need to register online or with a Stats SA Fieldworker, Call Centre Clerk or online in order for a Stats SA official to contact them and assist in completing the required information,” Oosterwyk said.

Stats SA trialled the continuous population survey, which started in September to December in Gauteng and Eastern Cape in preparation for the main census. The survey, he said, was successful and would help in understanding new ways in which the consensus could be approached in the future.

“During the last quarter of 2021, Stats SA conducted a test of the expenditure year of the Continuous Population Survey (CPS) in Gauteng and Eastern Cape. This test primarily focused on assessing the impact of adopting a mixed-mode approach for the collection of household income and expenditure information.

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The test also examined the use of electronic survey instruments such as the weekly expenditure diaries that sampled households have to self-enumerate during the survey, as well as other changes to our publicity and training phases.

“The test was successfully completed in mid-December 2021 as planned. During the first quarter of 2022, the organisation will analyse and assess the findings from this test survey and then begin implementing the necessary changes as we prepare for the main survey,” he said.

Adding that: “Stats SA is still engaging with the National Treasury to secure the required funds that will allow us to implement this main survey starting by the end of 2022 as per our current plans. However, the organisation is exploring various options around how best to approach the main survey given the existing funding challenges. During 2022, Stats SA plans to test other non-expenditure areas of the CPS model to help facilitate the organisation’s transition to a CPS over the next few years.”

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