Columnist Max du Preez (5 May 2015) described South Africa as a nation of victims who spend their lives looking for someone or something to blame for their problems. Outsiders, he writes, (in this instance overseas academics) “were astonished at our lack of appreciation of South Africa’s stability, vibrancy and progress”. They were hugely impressed by “the most sophisticated infrastructure, economy and business sector in the so-called Third World… They are impressed with the openness of our society and the robustness of the racial, class and ethnic debates. They are very impressed that South Africa could build a black middle class of some six million in just two decades. They are very complimentary about the quality of black entrepreneurs and public intellectuals. They express their admiration that after 20 years, the constitution is still a rock of stability and that the rule of law is applied rigorously”.
The truth is we recognise that we do have lots of problems in South Africa but despite this, futurefact finds that South Africans are not as negative and pessimistic as du Preez suggests. In fact 85% have confidence in the Constitutional Court and 82% in the judiciary. 92% have confidence in our banks and cellphone providers and 79% in our journalists while 92% support our right to a free media. 9 out of 10 believe that their quality of life is better in South Africa than it would be elsewhere and have no desire to leave here, recognising that “SA has made considerable progress over the last 10 years or so in improving living conditions for large sections of the population”.
As du Preez says: “South Africa faces many serious challenges, but the picture is not nearly as dark as the alarmists paint it”.
futurefact has been surveying the attitudes and beliefs of South Africans since 1998. The findings presented above are from the futurefact survey conducted in late 2014, based on a probability sample of 3,048 adults aged 18 years and over, living in communities of more than 500 people throughout South Africa and representing 22,8 million adults. 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