Census Data Shows Western Cape is in the Lead
It is my pleasure to receive the Western Cape census report from Statistician-General, Mr Pali Lehohla, at this official handover today. I am very pleased with the data which shows that the Western Cape is a top performer in the provision of basic services.
The Western Cape also has the lowest unemployment rate in the country and the highest number of people with access to education. The Western Cape Government is working hard to ensure that the province is a place of growing opportunities and excellent service delivery and the results of this effort show in the census data.
The results show the following about the Western Cape:
• 99.1 per cent of Western Cape residents have access to piped water both inside and outside the yard.
• 91.1 per cent Western Cape residents have refuse removal.
• 93.4 per cent Western Cape households have electricity.
• 96.9 per cent Western Cape residents have toilet facilities.
• 97.3 per cent of Western Cape residents have access to schooling.
• 21.6 per cent of the Western Cape working population is unemployed, according to the narrow definition of unemployment (excluding discouraged jobseekers).
Using the expanded definition, 29.3 per cent of the working population is unemployed. On both counts, the province has the lowest unemployment rate in South Africa.
The population growth figures (an increase of 29%), partly due to net in-migration, suggest that we will need more resource allocation and stronger focus on informal settlement upgrading to ensure decent basic living conditions for as many people as possible. The census data will inform our policies and our budgets.
We will also need to keep incentivising responsible behaviours and lifestyles that bring down preventable illness and injury to reduce the burden of disease in the province so that we mitigate the strain on the public health system.
This population growth should also trigger the government, business, civil society, communities and individual citizens to redouble our efforts to "go green" by striving for resource efficiency and integrating sustainability practices into everyday living.
The growing strain on our limited resources and increasing energy demand from a growing population mean that we cannot carry on in the unsustainable way we have been doing for many years. Our society needs to start moving from a lifestyle of conspicuous consumption to one of essential consumption. We all need to recycle more, we need to use more public and non-motorised transport and we need to stop water waste that happens through tap and pipe leaks.
We can all take small steps to ensure greater sustainability and to move to a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy: from using energy-efficient light bulbs and switching off lights in rooms we are not using, to installing water meters and walking or cycling for short trips within our neighbourhoods instead of driving.
Achieving sustainability is a challenge that we must face up to and turn it into an opportunity. It will require ongoing practical action and with everyone taking shared responsibility to build our green economy in the Western Cape and ensure a sustainable future.