‘Gov­ern­ment only lis­tens to protests’

CityPress - - News -

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.

– Hopewell Radebe

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