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When miscounting can cost lives

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Staff Reporter
March04/ 2017

This week Africa Check busts estimations of foreigners in South Africa, providing the real figures and the real reason they should be accurate. 
Outrage and violence against foreign migrants during xenophobic marches in Pretoria last week once again brought to the fore estimates of foreign nationals living in South Africa.
Africa Check, the continent’s first fact-checking site, had a look at the numbers.
Founder of a newly-formed political party, the South African First party, Mario Khumalo spoke to TimesLIVE last week about the influx of migrants living in South Africa.
In his interview he said there are 13-million foreign-born migrants living in South Africa. He later confirmed that the number provided was an estimate and he personally did not know much about statistics and demography.
Africa Check confirmed that the 13-million Khumalo speaks of is “wildly incorrect” and, according to a StatsSA 2016 Community Survey, 1.6-million people born outside of South Africa live in the country.
The United Nations, on the other hand, estimated just over three million (3,142,511) international migrants living in South Africa in 2015.
Both figures indicate a much lower number of foreign nationals living in South Africa. Africa Check therefore confirms that official estimates of foreign migrants living in South Africa remain below 2.3- million.
Chief director for demography at StatsSA, Diego Iturralde, has previously advised caution when estimating migrant population sizes: “Migration is at the best of times a complex thing to measure, and I would advise the public at large to desist from making headline-grabbing claims without substantiating it with data that is robust, credible and has passed the scientific test for rigour.”
Read more at africacheck.org.za

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Staff Reporter