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Mamphela Ramphele has announced her entry to the political arena and intention to contest the 2014 elections. In her speech at Constitution Hill on 18 February, she raised many issues where she felt that South Africa was falling well short of its potential and where the government was failing the people.

futurefact has already questioned South Africans about their views on many of the issues she raises. futurefact has been surveying the attitudes and beliefs of South Africans since 1998. Unless otherwise stated the findings presented below are from futurefact 2012 which is based on a probability sample of 2,946 adults aged 15 years and over living in communities of more than 500 households throughout South Africa and representing 21.6 million adults.

Mamphela Ramphele: Our consultations and conversations across the lengths and breadths of our country have confirmed a hunger for a new beginning. Young and old, poor and rich, men and women, urban and rural people are yearning for a political platform that can put our country first... capture the best in us and enable us to transcend our divided past and work together as a society united in our diversity....

futurefact finds: Most South Africans, and particularly younger people, are willing to do whatever they can do make this a better place but over half are already involved in some way. Most believe that South Africans reflect a sense of Ubuntu or community caring and most believe that South African citizens should stand up for what they believe in and not wait for others to take action.

Mamphela Ramphele: Our country is at risk because self-interest has become the driver of many of those in positions of authority who should be focussed on serving the public... An unchecked culture of impunity and the abuse of power as well as public resources rob children, young people, rural and urban poor people of the fruits of freedom.... Corruption, nepotism and patronage have become the hallmarks of the conduct of many in public service.

futurefact finds: South Africans have reached a point of despair about corruption. 6 in 10 people say: “Corruption levels are so high in SA that I have lost hope about stopping it” and, dangerously for our national moral code, almost a third of us are asking: “ If other people are benefitting from corruption why shouldn't I also benefit?”. But there is still a clear belief held by around three-quarters of South Africans that: Government/state officials found guilty of corruption/crime should never be allowed to hold office again.

Mamphela Ramphele It is appalling to learn that an estimated 71 percent of South Africans in the 15-34 age group who make up 60 percent of our population, are not participating in the economy, and are instead forced to accept the humiliating substitute of social grants.

futurefact finds: Eight out of every ten adults who are unemployed fear that they “might never get a job”, seven out of ten believe that the government is not doing enough to create jobs, half say they are prepared to work for a lower wage just to have a job or some income while three out of ten I have given up trying to find a job (based on futurefact 2011).

Mamphela Ramphele: The poor performance of our public service is a major obstacle to providing citizens with quality public services.

futurefact finds: 65%, across all ages, races and communities are pessimistic about the future because of the lack of accountability coupled with the lack of skills to implement policy. Three quarters of South Africans have reached the point where they believe that government does not take issues seriously until civil action or strikes occur (Marikana, farm labourers in De Doorns, Western Cape, Sasolberg, Anti-Rape protests all bear testimony to this).

Mamphela Ramphele: Our rallying cry during the struggle for freedom was for the people to govern, yet the system of choosing Members of Parliament from lists drawn up by political parties gives disproportionate power to party bosses at the expense of ordinary citizens. We should be able to vote for the person in our own area we want to represent us in Parliament, so we can hold them accountable for the electoral promises they make.

futurefact finds: Her plan to raise a million signatures in support of a change in the Constitution in favour of local representation could well appeal to South Africans, almost three quarters of whom felt that “the president should be chosen by the people not the party”.

Mamphela Ramphele: Our society’s greatness is being fundamentally undermined by a massive failure of governance.

futurefact finds: six out of ten South Africans believe that the government is moving away from the democratic principles that they fought so hard to implement. More than seven out of ten feel abandoned by a government they believe “shows little concern for what its citizens think of it” and that once they are elected politicians are only interested in themselves and in power. 80% would like to see “the emergence a really strong leader who would re-establish order and discipline”.

Mamphela Ramphele: building a platform that will seek to work with others to reduce the fragmentation in the political landscape and to realign politics towards a focus on putting the country first.

futurefact finds: seven out of ten South Africans would like to see opposition parties work together to create a strong and united voice in parliament and six out of ten are worried about the lack of a strong opposition in parliament. 45% of black South Africans still believe that black people who vote for the DA are traitors (but 45% of them would vote for the DA if it had a black leader).

Mamphela Ramphele: I invite all compatriots to work with us to build a South Africa we can all be proud of. We owe it to you, our children, and your children to leave them a legacy of a great country. I have put up my hand. I ask you all to join this effort.

futurefact finds: There is a solid foundation for these hopes – almost every South African feels a sense of belonging to and pride in South Africa (regardless of race, age or community). 75% of South Africans and 80% of those aged 15-24 believe all people are my brothers and sisters and equals, regardless of race, religion or political beliefs and similar proportions believe we have the potential to become a truly wealthy and powerful nation. Seven out of ten believe that “small actions on my part can make a difference”.

If you would like to find out more about futurefact and its extensive attitudinal databases please contact Jos Kuper 082 904 9939 or check out www.futurefact.co.za