Stats SA: Measures in place to ensure census fieldworkers' safety

Fieldworkers started counting the transient population at various sites on Wednesday.

Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele (right) joined the StatsSA team in Cape Town on 2 February 2022 for the start of the national census. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - Statistics South Africa said that safety measures were in place for fieldworkers as the 2022 Census officially kicks off.

On Wednesday, Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele joined the StatsSA team in Cape Town.

Fieldworkers started counting the transient population at various sites on Wednesday.

On Thursday, they will be visiting households across the country.

In recent months, there have been many reports of municipal or service delivery officials being targeted in crime hotspots.

In previous censuses, field workers walked around with paper - this time they're using technology to capture the information.

Stats SA's Trevor Oosterwyk said that they'd met with the provincial and national SAPS joints committees who were aware that workers were in the field.

He said that they would report to police stations in various communities and that their own people would also roam the streets.

"In the extreme hot spots, we will do a sweeping method. That means we will send in 20 people at the same time because there's slightly more protection in numbers and they will go through that area and finish that area," Oosterwyk said.

He added that in the event that the device was stolen, he said that it became almost useless.

"In the event that the device is taken, it becomes almost useless - it switches off and it has a tracking facility on," he said.

Oosterwyk said that in terms of safety for responders, they did not have to be interviewed inside their homes - it could be done outside on their doorstep or online, however, people had to register for this.