A large majority of South Africans, or 73%, believe President Cyril Ramaphosa is doing a good job in responding to the coronavirus crisis, according to the latest survey…
Forty-three percent of respondents supported the lockdown, 37% endorsed amendments to the regulations, and only 5% opposed the confinement, it found.
Conducted by the University of Johannesburg’s Centre for Social Change, supported by the Human Sciences Research Council and the South African Social Attitudes Survey, the ongoing online study, conducted among adults, aimed to determine the social and economic impact of Covid-19.
Amid isolated incidents of bottle store break-ins and liquor looting in some parts of the country, the survey also found only a small minority supported the lifting of restrictions on the sale of alcohol (12%) and tobacco (17%).
Among the key findings was that only 4% believed Ramaphosa was doing a bad job of addressing the pandemic.
In contrast to the positive evaluation of Ramaphosa, only 25% thought their councillor was doing a good job.
Sixty-six percent were struggling to pay expenses, and 28% had gone to bed hungry due to the prolonged lockdown.
Fifty-seven percent said they were stressed, 45% were bored and 43% were frightened – compared to only 13% who were experiencing happiness.
Young South Africans were far less likely to give unconditional support to the lockdown than those who were older. Only 35% of 18- to 24-year-olds backed the lockdown, compared with 62% for those over 55 years of age.
Seventy-one percent supported the distribution of food parcels and 56% backed the introduction of a basic income grant. Fifty-two percent supported a payment break for accounts, rent and taxes.
Many people found the lockdown was causing considerable financial and emotional distress, with 48% of those who have gone to bed hungry not supporting the extension.
Only 34% backed the lockdown unconditionally.
The survey also revealed there was moderate approval for the job being done by the security forces in enforcing lockdown regulations: police (43% – good job) and soldiers (39% – good job).
Wealthier people were far more likely to give unconditional support to the lockdown than the poor.
Those with personal income of between R20,001 and R40,000 a month gave the lockdown a 70% nod and only 35% of those with a personal income of less than R1,000 a month did not support it.
In a personal message to Ramaphosa, a University of South Africa (Unisa) student, who is dependent on a part-time working mother, said: “Mr President, I am a 21-year-old studying towards an education degree at Unisa.
“This lockdown makes my life tough because I am being raised by a single parent.
“Sometimes we go to bed with an empty stomach because my mother is not able to go out and do some piece jobs.
“Everything has stopped in life. It’s like we are sinking.”
Based on 5,481 completed questionnaires, the survey was conducted via cellphones and the internet, with no cost to participants.
Brian Sokutu – Citizen