Census field staff in Botshabelo in the Free State have vowed to boycott work until they get paid.
They say they haven’t been paid since they started working in February.
The workers were promised payment several times to no avail. They downed tools on Saturday and have handed over a memorandum of their grievances to management.
The workers are accusing Census management of dishonesty and sending them from pillar to post.
They are adamant that they will only return to work once they get what is due to them.
One of the workers says, “We don’t know which is which because we no longer trust them. Because some of us have put our hearts and spirit into this project, yet the census management has been failing us.”
Another says, “When we ask about the payment , they say we should go and hustle like we used to. There’s no time for us to hustle because Census takes a lot of our time. What we do is we check when people are around, sometimes we even go back in the evening to check those we missed.”
“We want to see them pay people, keep their promise. We want them to pay each and every day because this mess is their mess,” a third worker says.
Census management has attributed the non-payment to a system glitch. It has however promised that workers will get paid by Friday.
Head of Stats SA Free State, Boniswa Jonas says, “With regards to field workers of Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu, we had some challenges. The challenge was that, for some reason the whole DCC unit was not paid. We explained to them way before the payment date but then seemingly they did not want to accept that we had some challenges. Then during our engagements, we told them that their payment is being processed as such they are going to get their payment as of 18th of March.”
Field workers in Dewetsdorp and Zastron areas have also not been paid.
Their contracts were extended to the 20th of March.
Close to 200 000 households in the Northern Cape have been counted in the Census 2022. Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) in the province got off to a bumpy start last month due to delays in the training of fieldworkers.
Northern Cape Stats SA Head, Deon Kleinsmith province says it is doing all it can to have more than 400 000 households and the 1.3 million population counted.
“The tallying of the population is progressing is well. We covered approximately 8 million households in the country and in the Northern Cape close to 200 000 have been covered and when we look at the data, people have opted to complete the questionnaires themselves. We’ve seen that countrywide about 456 000 households have registered for that option and in the Northern Cape about 1% which is about 450 000 who have opted to do it themselves,” says Kleinsmith.
Stats SA in Northern Cape says counting is progressing: