Shortage of enumerators rocks census

Shortage of enumerators rocks census

Rose Moremoholo

MASERU

THE Bureau of Statistics (BOS) does not have enough enumerators and vehicles to carryout the population census, Development Planning Minister Mokoto Hloaele has said.

Hloaele told a press conference on Thursday last week that although the census, which started with King Letsie III’s family on Sunday, has encountered some problems he is hopeful that it will be successful.

The census is expected to be completed on April 24.

The ministry’s principal secretary Tlohelang Aumane said the shortage of enumerators was caused by BOS’s rejection of teachers who had applied for the job despite that they were still employed by the Ministry of Education.

Other applicants were students of institutions of higher learning whom the BOS had to send away because they could not focus on the census workshop as they had to attend their classes as well.

Others were rejected because they came to the workshop drunk and the bureau was convinced that they were not fit for the job.

BOS Chief Statistician ’Matlokots iMakoa said the job is meant for those who are unemployed because they have no other work commitments except the census.

“We had indicated that this job is solemnly for those who are unemployed. Most of the working applicants were teachers,”Makoa said.

Makoa said they only became aware of the situation when the Ministry of Education told the BOS that there were complaints from schools that some teachers would go to their schools just to register their presence in the morning and leave for the census workshop.

She said the teachers would come back in the afternoon to release students and then disappear again.

“We had to work together with the Ministry of Education to identify teachers among the names we had,” Makoa said.

Director of Statistics Liengoane Lefosa said those who were students in tertiary schools would receive requests to be allowed to go and write their school tests “and when we received such requests, we had to let the person go altogether because this job needs a full timer”.

Lefosa indicated that other applicants were dismissed because of a poor work ethic.

“Some trainees would not come on time to the workshops while others left early and others would attend the workshop drunk,” Lefosa said.

Others who had applied for the job had also been given temporary jobs at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) for this year’s Local Government elections and they would leave the BOS workshop to attend the IEC’s and vice versa.

“We have already asked the IEC to let us have those people who had applied for our jobsto come and assist us because their training at the IEC will not clash with the census,” Hloaele said.

“For those who might not get the message we request that they come to our offices to carry on with the census because we dearly need them,” he said.

There are at least 8 000 enumerators.

The BOS could not get enough 4×4 vehicles for enumerators who will be working in the mountainous areas of Lesotho.

“We had requested vehicles that were used in the 2010 census but they are not enough. We needed at least 320 4×4 double cabs and trucks but we don’t have enough of these,”Aumane said.

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