Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says that the paltry census participation by his province’s residents is becoming an increasingly dire issue, with R9.7 billion at risk of being slashed from the provincial budgetshould the numbers not improve.
Only 61% of residents have been counted, falling well short of the required targets to ensure that 16% of the province’s budget isn’t cut. This disappointing turnout has already led to an extension of the census deadline, and with only nine days remaining, Winde is becoming increasingly concerned.
Major budget cuts loom for Western Cape
In a statement released on Thursday, Winde outlined the implications of not reaching a high enough target, warning that the Western Cape could lose funding equivalent to 1 615 doctors or 5 981 nurses, and over approximately 9 300 teachers if only 70% of residents get counted in the 2022 Census.
“If this were to happen, it would severely undermine the quality of health care and education services that we provide, at a time when demand for services is ever more pressing,” he said, adding that the available spending per person would be reduced by more than R1 300 per person per annum in the provincial equitable share.
Winde said that this would catastrophically mean that R2.6 billion in funding off the Western Cape’s health budget and R4.2 billion off its education budget would be slashed, with smaller departments also suffering losses.
“In short, service delivery in the Western Cape will suffer a major blow across the board if residents do not make sure they are counted,” he said.
How to complete 2022 census
In order to avoid service delivery being jeopardised, residents need to do their part and be counted – and it really isn’t difficult to do so. Here’s a variety of ways to complete the 2022 census:
- Completing the Census questionnaire when visited by an official StatsSA Census counter;
- Completing the Census questionnaire online: getcounted.statssa.gov.za; or
- Contacting the Census call centre for any enquiries on 0800 110 248 or emailing [email protected]
“The implications of what could happen if the undercount persists should be deeply concerning to each and every resident of this province, as it is to me,” he said.
“To put it simply, if we only manage to count 70% of the population,If we do not get an accurate census count for our province, we may have fewer resources available to deliver services well into the future, which would impact each and every resident.”