19 November 2012

South Africa: Census 2011 Results Are Accurate - Lehohla

Johannesburg — Statistician General Pali Lehohla on Monday reiterated that the results of Census 2011 are accurate.

Addressing the New Age/SABC breakfast briefing at the Sandton Convention Centre on Monday, Lehohla said the fact that it took 12 months for the results to be released lent credence to the validity and accuracy of the process of collating the results.

"We delivered the results in 12 months... It can't be [true] that the results were rushed," said Lehohla.

Apprehension about the accuracy of the results recently made headlines when Associate Professor Tom Moultrie and Professor Rob Dorrington - consultants who advised Statistics SA and the Stats SA Council - voiced concern that the release of the Census results may have been premature.

On November 1, just two days after the Census 2011 results were made public, Stats SA and the Council held a media briefing to clear the air around allusions to the accuracy of the results.

Chair of the Stats SA Council, Howard Gabriels, at the time said the process of evaluating the latest Census started as far back as 2008, adding that there was extensive and long engagement with Stats SA throughout.

"It is not that the Council rushed; it has taken this decision [to release the results] well informed," he said.

Lehohla on Monday emphasised that the information from the Census had a vital role to play in helping policy- and decision-makers to make choices that would best serve the needs of South Africans.

"The data has to be in the public domain," said Lehohla, adding that there was evidence the findings were being put to good use.

"These policies are largely addressing employment, inequality and poverty," he said, noting that South Africa had a significant while to go before levelling out its equality issues.

Over the course of the Census, conducted in October 2011, 14 million households were visited.

Released on 30 October, the results showed that the population had swelled to 51.7 million in 2011.

Census 2011 was conducted on a budget of R3.4 billion.

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