Widespread ignorance over info bill

2012-01-04 14:44
Cape Town - Forty percent of South Africa's township residents do not know what the protection of state information bill is about, a survey by a Cape Town company has found.

An average of 40% of 1 108 people questioned in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban had never heard of the bill nor followed the national debate about it.

This is according to research by ikapadata, a company that specialises in measuring opinions of people living in townships.

The respondents were asked: "Do you think that the newly passed protection of state information bill (called the secrecy bill by the media) will be good or bad for South Africa? South Africans have been divided on this issue. Where do you stand?"

The research showed 21% of respondents supported the bill, 25% thought it was bad and 14% knew of it but had no opinion.

Excluded from national debates

The number of respondents with no matric and who had never heard of the bill was 51%, compared to those with matric, at 33%.

Most of the people who had never heard of it lived in Cape Town (56%) followed by Johannesburg (38%) and Durban (25%).

"This lack of knowledge of one of the most important recent political debates is generally worrying and points to a deficit of political information and interest among semi-urban dwellers as well as highly uneven access to the media among South Africans," ikapadata said.

"It also shows that poor and uneducated South Africans are, to a large part, excluded from crucial national debates.

"The [ANC] government cannot be content with only a minority of one of its core constituencies supporting this controversial piece of legislation."

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