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Is Thabo Mbeki doing a good job as President?

How do people living in South African feel about the job that Thabo Mbeki is doing as president of South Africa? This is an issue that tends to evoke interest and emotion as it plays on South Africa's past and the legacy of apartheid.
Sentiments differ across race groups and are also largely dependent on where people live - be it in the major metropolitan areas, smaller urban, or rural areas in our country.

A total of 3500 respondents over the age of 18 years were interviewed in August 2003 - 57% were in the major metropolitan areas, 25% in rural areas, and the remaining 18% in small urban areas.

The metropolitan figures can be tracked over time, but it is the first time that Research Surveys has asked this question of the small urban and rural populations.

Thabo Mbeki's popularity is improving
  • Twelve percent of all South African adults could not comment on whether or not they felt Thabo Mbeki was doing a good job as president of South Africa. Those who thought he is doing a good job amounted to 46%, slightly more than the 43% who feel he is not.
  • The results for the metropolitan population have improved significantly over time: In February 2002, only 27% of metropolitan South Africans felt Thabo Mbeki was doing a good job. In February 2003, this figure rose to 37%, and in August 2003, it stands at 43%.

The age of respondents reflects an interesting picture
  • In terms of age of respondents, Mbeki's popularity was lowest amongst the youth (18-24 year olds) and the senior citizens (50+ years old) - scoring 43% for both.
  • Amongst metropolitan respondents, those who are 50+ also score Mbeki lowest in terms of his doing a good job (38%), while respondents aged 25-34 years old score highest (49%).
  • The skew to the senior citizens is mirrored in the rural population - although much higher relative to the metropolitan and small urban populations, only 50% of 50+ year-olds feel Mbeki is doing a good job, compared with 55% across all other rural age groups.
  • Small urban people seem to stand apart from the rest - the lowest proportion of people who think Mbeki is serving his term well is amongst the 25-34 year olds, at 32%.

Rural and racial skews are evident
  • Figures were strongly skewed towards the black population - 54% had positive feelings about Mbeki's presidency, compared to 26% of coloureds feeling this way. The figures for whites and Indians are lowest - in the region of 20% .
  • More than half of the rural population that was interviewed (54%) felt that Thabo Mbeki was doing a good job. This is significantly higher than the figures for metro and small urban areas, which were 43% and 39% respectively.
  • It is interesting to look at the differences in responses across metro, small urban and rural areas. Fifty-eight percent of metropolitan blacks feel Thabo Mbeki is doing a good job, versus 45% of small urban blacks and 56% of rural blacks. Amongst whites, the proportion in favour of Thabo Mbeki is roughly 20% across all areas.

Income and area play a role
  • Positive sentiment towards Thabo Mbeki decreases with affluence - 57% of those who earn less than R800 a month per household think Thabo Mbeki is doing a good job, while only 27% of those earning R15 000 household income a month, or more, agree. This is obviously a function of race.
  • Surprisingly, the figures for the unemployed sectors of the population are slightly higher then for working or retired individuals - 48% were happy with Thabo Mbeki versus 45% for both working individuals and for retired/student/housewife populations.
  • Inhabitants of Western Cape and kwaZulu Natal are the most disgruntled with Thabo Mbeki - only 31% of those in the Western Cape, and 38% of those in kwaZulu Natal feel that Mbeki is doing a good job, compared to the highest figure of 55% in the Free State.

Editorial contact
Research Surveys
Kim O'Hagan
(011) 712 - 9722

9 Oct 2003 22:11


Growlin G
What President?-
I totally agree with Defiantly not. Our president seems to uphold international relations well, but still maintains a certain sense of discrepiancy that does nothing but incourages corruption and sly deals, one gets the feeling of a hidden agenda where countries like zimbabwe is allowed to destroy itself whilst the vultures wait for the pickings. One has to look at the bigger picture when one sees the proudly South African campains going rife whilst our goverment constantly accuses itself from within of corruption and bad management. I'm proud to be a South African but not proud of my Goverment that still uses the good o'l apartheid excuse to get out of ANY situation it happens to find itself in.....
Posted on 10 Oct 2003 16:00
Don't be stupid-
First of all I think it's insane to ask the people of THIS country how they think our president performs when 60% of them wants to leave the country as soon as they can get their hands on a plane ticket, it's insane cause the majority of people compain like there is no tommorow. We don't walk into other countries and change the leadership, it's only america and the uk that can get away with that and I for one am convinced that the government is doing something about aids, worked on a couple of campaigns. Frankly I don't understand why people are saying that the government isn't doing enough when they have just recently received an award from the United Nations. Go president Mbeki, some of us know!
Posted on 13 Oct 2003 09:26
YES,,, Withuot a doubt he is doing a great usefull job-
I think people should stop being negative about our President.Everybody is unique in his own right, so it is impossible to compare him to our dear exPresident Mr Mandela because they will never be the same.I am not suprised about the outcomes of the research because the white population prejudiced the work of President Mbeki before he even started started working.But you know what he is the best.
Posted on 13 Oct 2003 09:32
President Mbeki is doing an excellent job. -
How does one really measure a job well-done, more so that of a President? I would imagine economic indicators would be an appropriate measure to use, among other things. The economic being of a country is a reflection on how 'safe' it is to invest in it, and how 'confident' are those would-be investors in the future of that particular country. Our country's economic future has never been this bright! Yes, sources within our country, would have us believe that there is no future in this country, or if thee is it is dim. Some sources would even go on smearing cow dung in our eyes and minds, so we can believe that under the leadership of Pres. Mbeki, we are doomed! We got to understand that with his economic background, our President' decisions and plans are futuristic in nature, and therefore, a short-sighted indicator of his performance can be misleading. On the Zimbambwe issue, why aren't we pointing our fingers on the very people who instigated the chaos in the first place-the colonisers? Why don't they fix their mess?
Posted on 13 Oct 2003 14:57
Growlin G
Sure sure-
Lets be objective, first of all sure colonists invaded this beuatifull place and tried to conform it to the europian standards, but face it if it wasnt for them the wheel would have been invented in africa 100 years later. But i'm not a racist and i don't live in the past like the majority. Our future is now and us as a country do not need to be held back by people ignoring detrimentle aspects like Zim and stupid remarks, sure a lot of things are being done about aids and what-what but the obvious issues are ignored and giving "Blame it on apartheid stamp....sorted". Witch i see as the only major influencing factor that plagues everybodies concience and creates distrust and racism.
Posted on 14 Oct 2003 12:26
btw who decided the european way was the right way, ignorant western arrogance - I suppose!!!
Posted on 15 Oct 2003 01:05
Bigg Daddy
Looking at the main macro environment. POLITICALLY - Good job. Our politics is stable. ECONOMICALLY - Good job. We are becoming competitive in global markets. SOCIALLY - Poor job. Many promises & little deliverence. High unemplyment - Hi homelessness - High AIDS - High Crime. TECHNOLOGICALLY - Good job. Diffusion of technology is progressive. The score is 3/4, however the MANPOWER determines success of other variables, since the deliverence has been slow in that area. We can conclude that the PRESIDENT has not done a great job.
Posted on 28 Oct 2003 08:05
arrogance? look who's talking!-
Well Africa as a whole is lacking somewhat from the West you stupid aggresive South African. Get social skills before you jump someone down and call them names again. You are no better that the old regime!!! At least that person had an opinion.
Posted on 4 Nov 2003 12:18
Eugene Terblanche
Acid test...-
Can someone criticise Mbeki without mentioning 2 words- Aids and Zim? Anyone who can do that will silence me, but for now Mbeki is the man.
Posted on 21 Nov 2003 14:15

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