Grahamstown census co-ordinator Xolani Simakuhle has expressed outrage at an incident over the weekend that left a census worker distraught and tearful.
Census fieldwork supervisor Chantelle Fobe said she had found the teenage census worker standing in the street in Sun City, near Hooggenoeg, crying, after an encounter with a resident.
The 19-year-old census worker had been alone when she entered a home in the informal settlement, where she said she'd been subjected to treatment that left her in tears and fearful for her safety.
In a telephone interview with Grocott's Mail yesterday morning, she said the resident, a man in his 50s, had been sitting on his bed with his girlfriend. He asked her to come inside and sit on the bed with them, she said.
“Halfway through the interview, the man took off his shirt and touched me,” the young woman said.
“I told him I did not like what he was doing, but he and his girlfriend just laughed at me. I continued with the interview, but the man rubbed my back, so I took my belongings and went out of the shack and called my supervisor.”
Fobe said she'd found the young woman standing outside in the street, crying. She'd had to calm the young woman down before she could get out of her what had happened.
“She was incoherent because of the shock," said Fobe.
Census 2011 co-ordinator in Grahamstown, Simakuhle, condemned the incident, saying it highlighted the risk to census workers.
“People are complaining that the government is not doing anything. These people are working for the government,” he said. “They will help the government in knowing where the services are needed most.”
He appealed to the police and members of the community to ensure the safety of the enumerators.
Yesterday police spokesperson Mali Govender said the matter had been reported to the police, but she was unable to confirm whether a case had been opened.