A STAGGERING 77% of 37 million South Africans covered in a survey believe that the country is going in the wrong direction regarding corruption and state capture.
This came from a culmination of four months of research representing the voices of millions aged 18 years plus, with 80% of the sample focused on poorer communities.
Ask Afrika and Infusion Knowledge Hub were commissioned by the Centre for Communication and Reputation Management at the University of Pretoria to explore the views of ordinary SA citizens about corruption and state capture.
The research delved into understanding how citizens define themselves in the broader context of the South African population, their views on what the most pressing issues in the government are and the extent to which they perceive corruption and state capture to be prevalent in SA.
It also aimed to assess satisfaction with political performance, South African voting patterns and tendencies and to gain a scientifically verified understanding of how the majority of South Africans believe corruption and state capture will affect the future of the country.
The report said it was clear from the qualitative results that citizens used the focus groups as a platform to voice their “dissatisfaction” with the state of affairs in the country. The survey highlighted that:
• 62% of people think good progress has been made to transform sport, • 55% said the same for business and
• 51% for the workplace. Most citizens said they had heard of corruption and 68% think state capture happens in South Africa.
The views highlight high levels of distrust and dissatisfaction with government performance. The majority of citizens believe that their basic needs are not being met as a result of corruption and state capture, with 77% feeling that the country is moving in the wrong direction.
Despite this, 84% of the respondents say they remain proudly South African, with 46% of them choosing to be identified first as South Africans before any other demographic descriptors like race, gender, religion or culture.
Dr Melani Prinsloo from Infusion Knowledge Hub said: “The focus group discussions gave ordinary South Africans a safe platform to share and discuss their experiences of government, corruption, state capture and political party performance.
“In doing so, South Africans provided an ethical framework to consider corruption and state capture. In addition, a set of key indicators on an ideal government, drivers of corruption or state capture and the impact of corruption or state capture were produced. “These formed the basis for the quantitative study.”
The overwhelming sentiment is that corruption degrades the fibre of society. The main actors in corruption and state capture are regarded as high level politicians and business people, directly impacting negatively on citizens.
Citizens agree that corruption and state capture result in creating a personal sense of loss and psychological disempowerment, reduces trust in government, is responsible for poor service delivery and prevents economic growth.
The results of the research will be unpacked today at The Nation’s Voice on State Capture and Corruption in Sandton, Johannesburg.