Trust in SA government dips, businesses most trusted - survey

2018-06-19 16:44
President Cyril Ramaphosa (File, AFP)

President Cyril Ramaphosa (File, AFP)

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South Africans do not place much trust in their government. This is according to a new global survey that has placed the country at the bottom of a list of 28 countries that were surveyed.

The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer report measured the public's trust across four sectors – government, business, media and NGOs.

More than 33 000 people were surveyed between October and November 2017. The countries surveyed include, among others, the US, UK, Germany and Brazil. Globally, more than half (56%) of respondents had lost trust in government leaders.

ALSO READ: 'This government is not going to improve your prospects in life' – Mmusi Maimane

In South Africa, 200 people were surveyed. The respondents were educated people aged between 25 and 64 and were in the top 25% in terms of household income.

Based on the survey, 86% of those surveyed harboured distrust towards the government, a one percentage drop from the previous year.

In terms of the other sectors, more than half of the South Africans surveyed (65%) also harboured distrust toward the media.

'Fake news'

Business, despite a drop from 56% in the previous year, was trusted by 53% of South African respondents, who, according to the survey, trusted companies more than NGOs (50%).

"This year we asked a series of questions designed to identify the trust-building mandates for each institution; the link between the role each institution is expected to play, its performance against that role, and the trust in that institution," the report reads.

South Africans were particularly concerned about fake news being used as a weapon, with respondents pegged in the 66% to 70% bracket of those who were concerned. This echoed a global trend where nearly seven-in-10 respondents expressed concerns about fake news.

ALSO READ: Fake news poses threat to mainstream media - minister

"People have retreated into self-curated information bubbles, where they read only that with which they agree.

"Half of respondents indicate that they consume mainstream media less than once a week. Nearly six-in-10 think that news organisations are politicised.

"Nearly two-thirds agree that the average person cannot distinguish good journalism from falsehoods," said Edelman Trust president and CEO Richard Edelman.

'Business is expected to lead'

More than 70% of the respondents trust employers in South Africa, ranking it joint 15th in that category alongside the UK, Sweden and Germany.

More than half of the people surveyed across the globe recorded that business is expected to lead, agreeing that CEOs should take the lead on change, rather than waiting for the government to impose it.

"There is a fast recovering belief in CEOs globally – up from 37% to 44% – rewarded for speaking out on issues," said Edelman.

WATCH: 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer

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