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."

  • Taetjo - 2012-01-04 14:51

    Shocking to say the least...

      Squeegee - 2012-01-04 15:33

      What is shocking is that more township residents understand what the bill is about than parlimentarians. There the rate is about 70% who don't have a clue.

  • Kaizer - 2012-01-04 15:04

    Its because these uneducated masses arent the ones who will be screwed by the bill.

      Deon - 2012-01-04 16:10

      They are screwed already.

  • bradleybrits - 2012-01-04 15:09

    This is why I am of the opinion that a person should have to write a multiple choice exam answering questions about what a parties policies are and pass it before they're allowed to vote in the elections! I mean if we make people write an exam to get a license to drive a car then why shouldn't we make sure they're informed as electing a government is so much more important and can do so much more if a person uninformed votes in a corrupt self enriching incompetent party repeatedly since 1994

      Bongani - 2012-01-04 15:21

      So true Bradley.

      Irene - 2012-01-04 17:14

      Either that or vote using your SARS tax number!

  • Wikus - 2012-01-04 15:09

    Keep the masses ignorant in order to keep them in line and rule over them... that's the essence of the ANC's power base.

  • Peter - 2012-01-04 15:25

    As one ANC leader was reported to have said: "Thank God most of our supporters cannot read"!

  • Mark - 2012-01-04 15:39

    Our corrupt Gvt must be splitting their sides with mirth. How wonderful for them to have a support base that is so ininformed.

  • JudithNkwe - 2012-01-04 16:02

    So much for public participation - it quite obviously has not taken place!

  • Rob - 2012-01-04 16:03

    Majority rule!!!!!! The majority are ill informed and have no opinion But who do they vote for? So what do you get? a government that is immune to criticism

  • Larry - 2012-01-04 16:04

    Like Mushrooms. In the Dark and surrounded by Bull***t.

  • Americo - 2012-01-04 16:50

    What is the MEDIA doing about it?? Come on guys what are you doing to inform these people or is news like this only for those who can pay for it. Get off your high horse - stop reporting percentages of ignorance and do something about reducing the percentage of ignorance on this subject instead

      John - 2012-01-04 22:18

      Its been in every newspaper and every radio station all year..... What more would you like them to do?? Or were you not aware that this bill was covered by the press??

  • David - 2012-01-04 17:04

    40% of topwnship dwellers have also not heard oF, or understand TENDERS, NATIONALISATION, BACK-HANDERS, NEPOTISM, ENRICHMENT and many other national pastimes...and THAT is why they all still vote the way they do. The Goverment is at a crossroads here...if they educate these people they will loose their votes. Simple. THAT is why they leave "rural" as "rural".

  • Irene - 2012-01-04 17:13

    If 40% of township residents don't know about the info bill, they obviously also don't know what thieves the ANCriminals are. No wonder they keep voting for them.

  • isaac.baloyi1 - 2012-01-04 17:19

    It is the responsibility of the informed to educate the uninformed,thats how people get to know about important national projects! We owe it the uniformed masses!Lets pick the cudgels and point them in that direction!Lamentation will not benefit us!

  • TheWatcher - 2012-01-04 22:44

    "Most of the people who had never heard of it lived in Cape Town" Epic fail DA. Pull up those socks we need you to wrench some more power from the ANC to ensure a free society. To start with educate your own constituents properly!

  • Zighom - 2012-01-04 23:28

    Whats new? since when do the public know o reven care about the contents of draft or final legislation or even part-take in debates? even lawyers cant cant catch up with the amount of legislation being produced at national and provincial levels (me included)...

  • Zighom - 2012-01-04 23:32

    Even if members of the public are aware of impending legislation, how any of them can actually read a Bill and make enough sense of it to can even comment? That skill and background required to do that cannot be taken for granted. Its a lot of work even for the trained eye.

  • Graham - 2012-01-05 10:22

    This is democracy African style!

  • MusiciansLife - 2012-01-05 13:34

    The ANC did a fantastic job of keeping the information regarding the Protection Of Information Act under the radar during the time that it was tabled in order to be brought to the public before it was supposed to be voted on. And that was before the bill was passed that seeks to make that kind of behavior by law unable to be addressed by anyone including the media on penalty of prison time. Just imagine how much control over perception and vital information the government will have if this bill gets voted into law. This is an issue that has a potentially devastating outcome for this country and for us. I'm reminded of any dictatorship that started by manipulating and influencing which information they deem acceptable to be addressed by the media and keeping it's citizens in the dark by censoring what news they deem inappropriate. Furthermore, the passing into law of the bill as it stands now will make the government accountable only to itself. Far too few people are taking up their responsibility to hold this government accountable. We must fight for our democracy or it will be taken away.

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