And the least trusted government minister is... Angie Motshekga, survey finds

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga.
Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga.
Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images via Getty Images
  • Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is the least trusted senior government official among South Africans, a survey by Ask Afrika has found.
  • On the other side of the coin, trust in President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize remain high.
  • Ask Afrika has been conducting weekly research since the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown on 26 March.

In Angie we trust... not.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has been the least trusted senior government official among South Africans for three weeks running, a survey by Ask Afrika has found. 

A mere 48% of respondents said they trusted Motshekga, who trails behind Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is trusted by 53% of respondents. 

Police Minister Bheki Cele and Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel are equally not likely to win any popularity contests soon. 

Public trust in Cele stands at 56%, with Patel scoring one point higher at 57%. 

READ | News24 readers adapting well to lockdown life despite frustration over regulations - poll

On the other side of the coin, trust in President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize remain high, with the president standing at a firm 75% and Mkhize at 67%. 

Lack of transparency and a perceived agenda in conflict with "working for the people" drives distrust of ministers, the survey found. 

Ramaphosa a 'true public servant'

Ramaphosa is regarded as authentic, transparent and a true public servant, working for the people. The older generations are more likely to see the president as transparent.

Those who are feeling depressed are less likely to believe Ramaphosa is "in it for the people", compared to those who are managing emotionally. The same is true for the younger generations, compared to those older than 35.

As positive Covid-19 cases increase in the country, citizens want to receive more frequent communication from Mkhize. Trust levels have remained relatively consistent from the previous week, with two in three respondents trusting the health minister. The majority of people want to hear from him at least once a week.

Trust levels for Cele continues to decline. However, two in three respondents want to receive frequent communication from him - at least once a week.

Dlamini-Zuma is seen as the least transparent of the measured ministers, and trust in her is declining. Perceived levels of authenticity have also declined.

Motshekga, however, continues to show the lowest trust levels amongst the measured ministers, as the number of teachers contracting the virus increases nationwide.


Ask Afrika has been conducting weekly research since the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown on 26 March. The main aim of the research is to understand the socioeconomic impact the coronavirus lockdown and the gradual reopening of the economy has on South Africans.

Over the past 13 weeks, quantitative research has been done using a 10-minute questionnaire administered in English.

The main aim of the research is to understand the socioeconomic impact that the coronavirus, lockdown and gradual reopening of the economy has on South Africans.

READ | Covid-19: News24 readers approve of government, president’s handling of pandemic - new poll

A total of 6 100 interviews were conducted and the quota structure aligned with the proportions of the general South African population. The results for Week 13 were obtained from 23 to 30 June.

Of the respondents, 74% were black, 12% white, 9% coloured and 5% Indian or Asian. Women made up 53% of respondents and men 47%. The largest represented age group was 25 to 34 (34%) and the second largest 35 to 49 (28%).

Survey summary

The fear of contracting the virus remains high and has increased during Level 3.

The fears coincide with the increase in positive cases in the country. Personal agency remains high, and many feel that it is their own responsibility to take care of their health, they are committed to social isolation and playing their part to prevent the spread of the virus.

Fears of contracting the virus are high amongst those who have underlying conditions.

Additionally, social distress levels have stabilised, with high levels of distress in Mpumalanga - a province with lower levels of preventative measure adoption.

Citizens mostly claim to wear masks to protect themselves from contracting the virus, then to protect others. Masks are mostly worn in public spaces, when visiting the store and using public transport. Factors that inhibit mask wearing include the feeling of not being able to breathe.

Many citizens claim that they would continue wearing a mask and washing their hands or sanitising surfaces even when no one was watching, possibly pointing to entrenched behaviours.

Only 41% of citizens will however continue using the elbow greeting, and the need for socialisation is high. Social media fulfils this need during the lockdown, as most people use it to stay in touch with loved ones.

READ | Covid-19 has had 'severe impact' on readers' personal finance, News24/Ipsos poll finds

Most citizens feel that the government is taking appropriate steps to prevent the spread of the virus - 74% of respondents feel that the government should increase educational efforts to prevent the spread of the virus. Furthermore, citizens want to receive regular communication from leaders at least once a week, especially from Ramaphosa and Mkhize.

Although trust levels may be lower for leaders such as Motshekga, citizens still want to receive frequent communication.

Trust in the mainstream media has also increased as compared to the beginning of Level 3. 

Other findings
  • Levels of frustration around the lockdown remain high in communities (70%).
    Many citizens don't trust the police or SANDF to keep them safe during the lockdown.
  • Only 50% of respondents feel that the Government is supporting victims of gender-based violence during the lockdown.
  • The ban on alcohol and tobacco products during the lockdown have left many to feel that they illegal trade has increased in their communities.
  • Nearly 50% of people believe that the lockdown rules are too strict, and many are breaking rules which put others at risk.
  • Mask wearing has increased over lockdown. This is especially due to citizens wanting to protect themselves and others from contracting the virus.
  • Because of the lockdown, half of respondents have adjusted their living and working conditions so that they can spend more time with family.
  • Many citizens look forward to socialising after the lockdown. Travel plans are also under way, and many aim to be more healthy.

Financial and emotional well-being

Thirty-two percent of respondents have no means of financial assistance and experience financial distress due to the lockdown, while 74% of food-insecure citizens took a loan from friends, family or a mashonisa (loan shark).

Anxiety and fear remain high among South Africans and only 24% are managing, even in advanced Level 3.

Although showing an improvement since Level 5, food insecurity has remained high, with half of respondents being concerned about the amount of food in their homes and a further 23% of children going to bed hungry. Many adults are still reducing portion sizes and meal frequencies due to a lack of food in the home.

Read the full report here: 

Ask Afrika COVID19 Week 13.pdf

The Ask Afrika COVID-19 Tracker Unpacking the significant social change brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Week 13 results, Level 3 - advanced (23 - 30 June 2020). ©Ask Afrika 2020. 1. 1. COVID-19 topics that have been surveyed Core weekly topics. Rotation Topics week 13. * COVID19 understanding, ...

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