Shrinking confidence amongst South Africans that the government is doing its job well

Only about half of adult South Africans (48%) are of the opinion that the National Government is doing its job well. This is down 8 percentage points from May 2009, when President Zuma took office.
Over the same period the proportion of adult South Africans who were saying that the country was “going in the right direction” shrunk marginally:

Shrinking confidence amongst South Africans that the government is doing its job well

These results are drawn from the Ipsos Pulse of the People study conducted by Ipsos.

“The Pulse of the People survey looks critically at the attitudes of South Africans towards significant policy areas,” states Mari Harris, Director of Public Affairs at Ipsos South Africa.

“With Parliament opening on Thursday and the State of the Nation Address, it is worth having a look at how South Africans view Government’s performance in various areas.”

The results include views of performance in the areas of governance and administration, the economy and social issues.

Governance and administration

Shrinking confidence amongst South Africans that the government is doing its job well

Governance and administration consists of four policy areas that have all been marked as “red light zones” (scoring below 50%) and this signals an urgent need for attention from government.

“In the case of nation-building (uniting all South Africans into one nation) and access to land the success rate dropped over time and registered below 50% in November 2015,” comments Harris.

The other two elements, namely the crime rate and government corruption have always been rated below 50%. These ratings improved in May 2014, but currently the proportion of those who said that the government handled these issues very or fairly well had declined again.

The economy

Shrinking confidence amongst South Africans that the government is doing its job well

Referencing the economy, it is clear that South Africans have been profoundly affected by difficult economic circumstances in the country and the government’s handling of these issues.

“However, it is also important to note that the government had always rated low in their handling of economic issues – all economic issues are firmly in the red light zone,” states Harris. In May 2009 South Africa was suffering from the effects of the major worldwide downturn in the economy which started in 2008 and it is clear that there had not been much easing of the economic pressures since then, in fact, a very low growth rate of only 0.7% is predicted for 2016.”

Social issues

It is clear that the government fares best in their handling of social issues and some of the issues fall in the “orange light zone” – i.e. needing attention, but not a burning issue. However, marked decreases in scores are seen in the latest reading in November 2015.

Shrinking confidence amongst South Africans that the government is doing its job well

“How well do you think your local authority/municipality is doing its job?”

Local government elections are coming up later this year and it will be interesting to note if changes in leadership are applied to municipalities. Currently, it is clear that South Africans have a fairly low opinion of their own local authorities:

Shrinking confidence amongst South Africans that the government is doing its job well

Technical detail

A total of 3,617 personal face-to-face interviews were conducted with randomly selected adult South Africans. The interviews were done in the homes and home languages of respondents. Trained quantitative fieldworkers from all population groups were responsible for the interviewing, which took place from 17 September to 19 October 2015. Interviews were done all over the country, from metropolitan areas to deep rural areas. This methodology ensured that the results are representative of the views of the universe and that findings can be weighted and projected to the universe – i.e. South Africans 15 years and older.

Interviews were conducted using CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing) and all results were collated and analysed in an aggregate format to protect the identity and confidentiality of respondents.

All sample surveys are subject to a margin of error, determined by sample size, sampling methodology and response rate. The sample error for the sample as a whole at a 95% confidence level is a maximum of 1.63%.

The performance traffic light:

Red light zones: rating below 50%
Orange light zones: rating from 50-74%
Green light zones: rating 75% and above

About Ipsos

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