Stats SA has asked community members not to jump to conclusions while their staff conduct mini-census fieldwork, following a threat to one of their staffers who was accused of child trafficking when speaking to a minor in Langa, Cape Town.
On September 19, the two field staffers were conducting a visit in Langa to establish contact with a representative of a sampled household for data collection.
Spokesperson Felicia Sithole said: “the fieldworkers were seen engaging a minor representative of the household, leading to the neighbour deducing that something suspicious was taking place”.
Sithole said the neighbour alerted other residents who gathered around and threatened the staff member. The staff members had to seek refuge at a nearby home until police escorted them from the area.
“The manner in which this incident was handled is regrettable, notwithstanding the reputational damage this is likely to cause. We are requesting that communities please check the credentials of any person who comes to their door.
“Owing to the nature of surveys we conduct, Stats SA continuously engages with communities. We value and understand the importance of trust between the organisation and the communities we collect data from.”
According to Stats SA, people who work at the institution have branded identity cards and field gear. Where possible, vehicles are also visibly branded. The mini-census tests will be conducted from October 9 to November 6 across South Africa’s nine provinces to prepare for the upcoming census in 2021.
Stats SA will test and review census data collection tools and systems as well as operational methodologies.
“We wish to reassure our communities that, as an organisation, we will do everything in our power to communicate with residents to announce our presence in their areas,” added Sithole. News24