Happy in Gauteng, but crime and corruption is a worry

2014-08-17 15:00

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The Gauteng City-Region Observatory’s biannual Quality of Life survey? ?released this week showed how far the province’s residents had come?–?and? ?how far they still had to go. Among the findings of the survey, during which? ?more than 27?000 people were polled, was that although income inequality? ?was still very high by international standards, the wealth gap was declining in? ?metros?–?particularly in Johannesburg which recorded a narrowing of 14%.? ?However, the third Quality of Life survey found that race relations were under? ?strain, xenophobia was on the rise and trust in government was very low.

Sipho??Masondo spoke to three Gautengers to ask what they thought of the findings.

Dries Steyn

Dries Steyn (63) from Centurion says he’s a happy resident of Gauteng.

“I grew up in the Free State, but here in Gauteng, you find whatever you want close by.” The survey found many Gauteng citizens were not happy with their municipalities’ charges for services?–?and Steyn is one of them.

“We pay way too much for water and electricity, but I don’t mind paying as long as I get the services,” he says.

Like 89% of the survey’s respondents, Steyn feels the single biggest threat to democracy is corruption. “There is corruption everywhere. It makes one lose trust in politicians. Local government is my main concern because they are the closest to us,” he says.

Another of the survey’s findings was that 45% of blacks felt coloureds were not contributing towards building the country. However, about 48% of Indians and 51% of whites felt they were.

Steyn says he doesn’t know about this. “The feeling I get is that they complain too much instead of contributing.”

Veruschka Padayachee

Veruschka Padayachee (29) says the finding that 31% of blacks feel Indians do not deserve to benefit from affirmative action makes her angry. About 22% of whites, 19% of Indians and 24% of coloureds feel the same.

Padayachee, a hotel manager who lives in Parkhurst, Johannesburg, says Indians suffered alongside blacks and coloureds during apartheid.

“Indians were part of the struggle and did not benefit from apartheid in any way,” she says.

While most survey respondents saw corruption as the biggest threat to democracy, Padayachee disagrees. She says high levels of unemployment and poor education are the real threats.

“Many people think Julius Malema is irrational but he is speaking to a huge section of our society, many of whom are unemployed.

“Their patience is wearing thin and who knows what they will do when they are left with no options.”

The report found Gautengers were generally happy in the province, but Padayachee is not one of them.

“It’s too expensive. Many people just have enough money to get by. It is a total rat race,” she says.

Musa Mooke

Like 73% of the survey’s black respondents, Musa Mooke (28) believes there are genuine trust issues between blacks and whites.

Nearly three-quarters of black respondents felt that they and whites could never trust each other as opposed to 16% who disagreed and 8% who remained neutral.

“For example at work, a white guy will be employed long after you. But three months down the line he is getting a promotion,” she says. “Before you even know it, he is your boss and you are reporting to him. How can we then trust one another?” she asks.

Despite this, Mooke, a call centre operator and administrator from Pimville, Soweto, says she is very happy in Gauteng.

“We have good roads, free water and electricity. There is very little crime in my neighbourhood. There is a neighbourhood watch.”

However, she is concerned that crime across the province?–?not just corruption?–?could threaten democracy.

“I think crime is a direct result of unemployment. Many people don’t work and resort to crime. Others want to go to school, but they don’t have money and see crime as an easy way out,” she says.

Life in Gauteng

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