Disgruntled South Africans reach eight-year low - poll

2016-11-30 06:00

SOUTH Africans are more disgruntled this year compared to any other time in the past eight years.

This is according to a new Pew Research Centre survey conducted in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.

The study took place from 29 March to 9 July, and included 3 330 respondents.

“South Africans are more dissatisfied with the way things are going in their country in 2016 than they were at any time the question was asked in the past eight years,” the study found.

Whereas South Africans were split on the country’s direction in 2014 (47% satisfied, 49% dissatisfied), 74% now say they are unhappy with the way things are going and only 24% are satisfied.

The poor state of the economy may be one driver of the souring mood in South Africa. A large majority (70%) describes the economy as bad, with 45% saying it is very bad.

The research notes that economic sentiments have turned sharply negative in South Africa and Nigeria since 2015.

Around seven in 10 South Africans and Nigerians now say their economies are in bad shape. In Kenya, the report finds, just over half say the same. Large majorities in all three countries consider the lack of employment opportunities a big problem.

Most see rewards and opportunities going primarily to those at the top, with the majority also indicating the gap between rich and poor has increased over the past five years.

When asked why so many people lack jobs in their country, the top reason given is that many jobs go only to people with connections.

“Political corruption - seen by many experts as a key stumbling block to a country’s development - is a major public concern,” the study stated.

“Most South Africans, Kenyans and Nigerians believe that government is run for the benefit of only a few groups of people in society.”

Perhaps most worrisome, the study noted, only around a third of South Africans and Kenyans say government corruption will be less of a problem in their countries when today’s children grow up. Nigerians are more optimistic that there will be less corruption in the future - 60% expect things to improve.

Despite these concerns, there is considerable optimism about the future across the three nations surveyed. At least six in 10 in each country say health care and education will be better for the next generation. And even though their views about the current state of the economy are negative, most are upbeat about the short-term economic future.

Majorities in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya believe their countries’ economies will improve in the next 12 months. Moreover, roughly three in four Nigerians, Kenyans and South Africans believe that young people today who want to live a good life should stay in their countries rather than move abroad.

The study further found that when South Africans, Nigerians and Kenyans were asked about the best example of an economically developed country, they tended to cite the U.S. and China.

When asked what makes the U.S. or China the leading model for development, many respondents noted the economic opportunities and growth in the two nations. - Fin24.

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