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Bulawayo population figures contradict 2012 Zimstat census results

by Vusumuzi Dube
06 Dec 2015 at 08:51hrs | Views
THE Bulawayo City Council has compiled its own population figures using data from its housing system, thereby contradicting the 2012 Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency (Zimstat) census results which were highly contested by council and some commentators.

When the 2012 census results were released, Bulawayo mayor Councillor Martin Moyo led the list of people who blasted Zimstat, alleging that it was deliberately understating the number of people living in the city in a calculated ploy to ensure that Central Government underfunds the municipality.

However, council findings are not likely to go unchallenged, as calculations, according to their figures, put each housing unit with an average occupancy of 12 people, although officials said each household had an average of six people.

According to results of the August 2012 population census released by ZimStat, Bulawayo's population was said to stand at 653 337 down from 676 000 that came out of the 2002 enumeration exercise.

The census put Harare's population at 2 123 132 with Bulawayo, of all the country's 10 provinces, having the least number of people. The census is conducted after every 10 years for national planning purposes.

In the latest development, the local authority has since come up with its own population figures which it has termed the Consolidated Bulawayo Municipal Housing and Population Statistics. The statistics, however, only cater for the city's high density suburbs.

According to the figures, the city's high density suburbs have 88 234 properties with a population of 1 124 368, excluding lodgers, dependents and visitors.
The figure is almost double the Zimstat figure despite the local authority having enumerated high density suburbs only.

According to a council confidential report, as at 31 December 2014, Nkulumane suburb had the highest population at 151 824 from the 12 652 households in the suburb while Hyde Park Estate had the least population of 1 284 from the 107 households.

Magwegwe has a population of 93 960 from the 7 830 properties inclusive of 592 flats, Nketa suburb 80 472 residents from 6 706 properties, Lobengula has a population of 86 532 from the 7 211 properties while Entumbane has 64 084 from 5 287 houses.

Other suburbs in the city are pegged as follows; Makokoba 36 756 residents and 3 063 properties, Mzilikazi 23 784 residents and 1 982 properties, Nguboyenja 10 116 residents and 843 properties, Barbourfields 7 860 residents and 640 properties, Mpopoma 55 608 residents and 4 643 properties, Pelandaba 10 680 residents and 890 properties, and Mabuthweni 14 784 residents in 1 232 properties.

Matshobana has 7 212 residents in 601 properties, Iminyela 21 780 residents in 1 815 properties, Emakhandeni 46 140 residents in 3 845 properties, Njube 34 044 residents in 2 839 properties, Old Pumula 17 256 residents in 1 438 properties, Pumula East 25 152 residents in 2 096 properties, Pumula North 33 132 residents in 2 761 properties, Pumula South 58 644 residents in 4 887 properties and Pumula Private Development has 10 980 residents in 915 properties.

Methodist Village has 1 320 residents from the 110 properties, Mazwi Village (St Peters) 2  56 residents in 188 properties, Tshabalala 28 872 residents in 2 406 properties, Sizinda 24 600 residents in 2 050 properties, Emganwini 41 412 residents in 3 451 properties, Old Luveve 11 856 residents in 988 properties, New Luveve 9 732 residents in 811 properties, Luveve Five 5 172 residents in 431 properties, Luveve Four 8 496 residents in 708 properties while Gwabalanda has 13 968 residents in 1 164 properties.

Meanwhile, one of the largest suburbs in the city, Cowdray Park has 76 500 residents from the 6 375 properties.
In responding to queries over the ZimStat figures, Zimstat director-general Mr Mutasa Dzinotizei defended his organisation's findings, saying ZimStat conducted the census using international methods that are recommended by the United Nations Statistics Division.

He said while Zimstat was open to criticism, it was important for people to scrutinise the figures from an informed point of view.

"We're the country's official source of statistics and we're trained on how to conduct population census. We use scientifically agreed standards, where every single person in the country is enumerated.

"The same figures are used in the world population census, which means that they trust us because we use internationally recommended methods. But I can tell you that we have a way of counting people no matter which part of the country they are. Those who are not at home are counted wherever they are, be it in a bus, train, hospital or in prison as long as they are in the country," said Mr Dzinotizei.

Bulawayo Mayor Clr Moyo said he had always had "reservations" about the 653 337 figure given by Zimstat, noting that as a local authority they had a rough idea of where their population stood from figures within their system.

"To be frank we have a rough idea that Bulawayo has slightly more than a million people, based on the housing units that we have and an average number of six people inhabiting the houses. We have our own way of calculating our figures as these come in handy for planning purposes," said Clr Moyo.

On its official Twitter account, after the release of the 2012 results, the council said it was shocking and unacceptable that the number of people in Bulawayo had actually declined from 676 000 in 2002, even though the city has seen new housing developments in areas like Pumula South, Mahatshula and Emganwini.

"It's shocking that the figure went down to 653 337. We'll not accept this figure because we know that it's a ploy by the Government to underfund our projects," said the council.

In 2002 then Bulawayo mayor Mr Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube also disputed the census results, saying the estimated population was way below the figure shown by municipal records.

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