Speech for the Launch of Census 2011 | Western Cape Government


Speech for the Launch of Census 2011

21 November 2010

Head of Statistics South Africa, Statistics SA staff, MECs, DDGs, HODs, councillors, members of the public sector and the public, and members of the media.

I would like to thank Stats SA for inviting me to speak to you this morning, at the Western Cape launch of Census 2011.

We also welcome the Western Cape Statistics office's strengthening of its partnership with the office of the Premier and the Department of Social Development, to highlight the importance of Census 2011.

I understand we also have a delegation from China here?

To give you an idea of what a Chinese census entails - earlier this month more than six million census workers spent 10 days conducting the first census in a decade of China's estimated 1.3 billion people.
Ours should be a lot easier.

A special thanks to all the statisticians here today for the incredible work you are doing at ground level in our province and country.

The work you are doing has a direct impact on service delivery for our people at the grassroots level.

Statistics are important for planning and for budgeting.

How can you address poverty without stats?

How can you address unemployment without stats?

How can you address housing and infrastructure development without stats?

We must make sure that Government actually uses statistics and does not plan in a vacuum, without setting specific targets that are based on statistics.

If you cannot measure accurately then you will not be able to manage the fair distribution of resources and delivery of services.

Particularly in a province like the Western Cape this is crucial because we have a history of competition for scarce resources amongst the poor.

To address poverty effectively we must use targeted interventions that can be measured, and consult the poor people about their own development.

It is therefore crucial that we mobilise the whole population to come forward and be counted, so that the results of Census 2011 can be used as a tool to improve service delivery.

Leading up to the Census we are going to have to keep reminding every person that resides in our province that their inclusion is absolutely crucial for Government and indeed for their own wellbeing.

During the next few months until October 2011 we must use all the time and resources available to us to embark on a massive publicity campaign to encourage citizens to participate in the census.

We must target the huge numbers of young people in their 20s and 30s to ensure that Government programmes for the youth, especially those that relate to job creation and the fight against HIV and Aids can be effective.

Those residents of gated communities that normally exclude themselves from the count must also be educated about the value and the importance of an accurate census, for all citizens of the province.

We must strive to change our position as the second most undercounted province after Gauteng.

This undercounting in our province leads to the Western Cape Government receiving far less resources than are actually needed to develop our province.

The publicity campaign must educate all residents that when the Census is completed it will not be possible to identify any individual from the resultant database.

So the information you give will remain confidential, as required by the Statistics Act.

The more accurate this Census is the better equipped we will be to bridge the urban/rural divide.

After the Census we will have accurate data for the formulation of policy as well as implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

I would also like to take this opportunity to applaud Stats SA not only for its very high standards, but also for its move to set up an African Stats Institute to train local and foreign statisticians.

On the eve of the Young African Statisticians Conference in Pretoria in 2008, Statistician-General Pali Lehohla hit the nail on the head when he said, and I quote,
"There are too few South Africans who love statistics or have a passion for it. Central to the road map [to overcoming these challenges] is the role of Africa's young statisticians, whose intellect and ability are key to overcoming many of the technological and measurement issues in Africa."
End quote?

So this is about more than just South Africa because any national planning must also consider regional development and beyond.

I would like to end off with a quote this morning that I think explains in a nutshell, what is required from all of us.

George Bernard Shaw once said, and I quote,
'It is the mark of a truly intelligent person to be moved by statistics.'

Keep up the good work.

I thank you.