‘Government only listens to protests’

2017-03-19 06:01
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South African voters surveyed before last year’s municipal elections indicated that they had high levels of dissatisfaction with government, and that they would like to see some improvement.

This is according to the Good Governance Africa voter sentiment survey, which was released this week. It found that 60% of participants reported that they were giving up hope that government would listen to them.

This raised the question of how people were attracting attention to their grievances. Respondents indicated that only 9.2% approached authorities through legitimate channels; 9.9% had given up; 27.8% were staging peaceful protests; and a whopping 51.7% used violent protests to attract attention.

The study showed that most South Africans would resort to violence to communicate with government. This supported the 2015 survey, which showed that people had lost hope that government would take notice.

The survey also found that a majority of participants (58.5%) believed that a concurrent combination of better administration, better economic development and better service delivery would make them happier with government performance.

Better service delivery was underscored as the highest individual grievance, and was also part of the overall majority response.

A majority of voters in North West still voted for the political party they had always voted for, however, the province had high groups of voters who abstained last year.

In September, close to 80% of participants surveyed blamed incompetence and corrupt government officials for the poor state of the economy, and indicated that loyalty among voters was declining.

A majority claimed that they would change their vote if they found an alternative party; if they lost hope; if they got information on government performance; and if they saw evidence of better governance by other political parties. 

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