61% of Gauteng residents think SA going in the wrong direction

2016-06-28 19:38
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Johannesburg - The number of Gauteng residents satisfied with their local municipalities has declined since 2013, according to the 2015 Gauteng Quality of Life survey. 

According to Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) executive director Rob Moore, the organisation's survey is the largest social attitudes survey ever conducted in Gauteng.

“In 2013, 37% of respondents were satisfied with local government. In 2015, this is down to 34%.

“However, in 2013, 51% were firmly dissatisfied with local government, which has dropped to 45%. It appears that more people are undecided – neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. Interestingly, at 43%, whites are more satisfied with local government than Africans at 33%.”

GCRO said these results suggested a greater middle-ground of potentially undecided voters ahead of the August 3 local government elections.

About 30 000 Gauteng residents took part in the survey. 

Satisfaction with national, provincial and local government 

In terms of politics, 61% of respondents agreed with the statement "The country is going in the wrong direction".

"The 2015 results show that only 52% agree that the upcoming municipal elections will be free and fair, dropping from 66% who agreed that the 2011 elections were free and fair."

There were gains in local government satisfaction over the period of review.

“When the survey started in July/August 2015, dissatisfaction with local government hovered around 55%. When fieldwork ended in April/May 2016, dissatisfaction with local government had declined to less than 40%.”

National government however did not fare so well. Satisfaction levels started at 39% and climbed to 48% in February 2016. 

GCRO said President Jacob Zuma's axing of finance minister Nhlanhla Nene last year contributed to this. 

Some municipalities saw increases in local government satisfaction since 2013, notably Ekurhuleni, Mogale City and Westonaria. Others such as Tshwane, Emfuleni and Merafong saw declines.

Lower levels of satisfaction with local government were a concern because they impacted negatively on respondents’ intention to vote.

The survey found that 37% of those who felt they were treated with dignity and respect in recent interactions with government were satisfied with their municipality. Satisfaction with local government dropped to 20% for those who felt they were not treated well.

It found that 58% of those happy with their councillor were also satisfied with local government generally. Among those dissatisfied with their councillor, only 16% were satisfied with local government.

High satisfaction with services

There had been high and stable levels of satisfaction with services such as water, electricity, waste, health, and education since the 2013 survey. 

A total of 83% of Gauteng respondents were satisfied with water services, 65% were satisfied with public health services, and 71% with local education.

“High levels of service satisfaction do not translate into high levels of satisfaction with government. On an index of 13 services typically provided by local government, 59% of Gauteng residents are satisfied. However, only 34% are satisfied with the performance of local government generally,” GCRO said.

The proportion of current business owners among Gauteng respondents for the survey fell from 11% in 2011 and 2013, to 8% in 2015.

Of those who had tried to start a business, 45% said their business had failed, up from 34% in 2013.

Racial attitudes soften 

In 2013, 66% of respondents agreed with the statement that “blacks and whites will never really trust each other”. In 2015 this dropped to 58%. 

When broken down by race, 62% of African respondents agreed that blacks and whites would never trust each other, down from 73% in 2013. The proportion of white respondents agreeing that blacks and whites would never trust each other increased from 40% in 2013 to 44% in 2015.

Following the xenophobic attacks in Gauteng in 2015, the number of South Africans who agreed with the statement “Gauteng belongs to South Africans only, send all foreigners home” fell to 24% in 2015, from 38% in 2013

About 14% of respondents thought it was acceptable to be violent towards gays and lesbians.

Quality of life in Gauteng improves

The quality of life index for Gauteng showed overall improvement since 2011.

However, the index varied significantly across race groups. Blacks were the only group that fell below the provincial average.

The three municipalities with the highest recorded quality of life on the index were Randfontein, Mogale City, and Johannesburg. 

The GCRO is a partnership between the University of Johannesburg, the University of the Witwatersrand, the City of Johannesburg, the Gauteng government and organised local government in Gauteng. 

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  service delivery

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