CAPE TOWN, Minister in the Presidency Responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe has stressed the need for accurate population statistics in order to avoid under-development.
Speaking at the opening of the 28th International Population Conference (IPC) of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) at the Cape Town International Convention Centre Sunday, he said: “I appeal to all of you here today, and those who will follow on your footsteps for many generations to come, to remain true to form at all times.
Those who measure should never succumb to any temptation whatsoever, or to submit to whatever pressure, to falsify the count of populations of the world. For, doing so will not only mean abdicating your responsibilities, but also dragooning the masses of the world on a road to under-development, subversion and doom.
The study of populations cannot be submitted to petty opinions of sudden impulse and superstition. It should be rooted in solid science. And science requires fundamental understanding of the theoretical impetus at play.”
The conference, being hosted by Statistics South Africa for the first time, is being attended by more than 1,000 delegates from around the world. The event, which is 89 years old, is held every four years and attracts population scientists, policy-makers, civic organization and government leaders from the union’s 131 member countries.
Radebe said the building of a solid scientific base to solve problems — current and future ones — would require the world to go out there and build capacity. Such capacity should harness the skills and expertise that countries currently have and gives rise to young and upcoming offshoots.
It requires a hand-holding to young and upcoming demographers, statisticians, economists and developmental scientist. On our continent, we have a program of young African statisticians who have been meeting every two years. Young Africans can only succeed if they are part of a great global establishment. Scientific knowledge becomes meaningful if it is universal.
He added that nations, both developing and developed, invested lots of resources to understand the number of people they lead and where and how these people live. The quest to understand these issues has become quite important for both leaders and the citizenry alike. The premise of making such a public good available to all at once ensures that those of us who are in public office are held accountable by the electorate at all times. It creates a robust culture of public trust in navigating sometimes a complex path in the choices of policies that nations make, he said.
The Minister used the opportunity to officially introduce Risenga Maluleke as the incoming South African Statistician-General to succeed the outgoing Statistician-General, Pali Lehohla, whose contract expires on Oct 31.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK