RACIAL ATTITUDES HARDENING, BUT MORE EMPATHY TOWARDS GAYS IN GAUTENG
The results of the Quality of Life (QoL) Survey, which measures the views of residents of the Gauteng City-Region on a various topics ranging from service delivery to informal traders to the use of amenities to politics and other indicators, have been released.
The survey is conducted by the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO), a partnership between the University of the Witwatersrand, University of Johannesburg, the Gauteng Provincial Government and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). It serves as a powerful signal from all residents as to what they feel is going right, and what is going wrong, in the city-region.
The results of the 2013 QoL were unveiled in the presence of the Gauteng Premier, Honourable David Makhura, and the Gauteng Chair of SALGA, Honourable Councillor Parks Tau, at Wits University today.
Key findings include:
* High levels of satisfaction with many areas of service delivery, but it is coupled with:
* Very low levels of satisfaction with government and governance, indicating that service delivery alone is not enough;
* Deep dissatisfaction with the local sphere in particular, across the board, suggesting that the 2016 local elections are going to be very keenly fought;
* A hardening of racial attitudes, with 73% of Africans agreeing or strongly agreeing that they will never trust whites people;
* Growing levels of xenophobia, but...
* More tolerant attitudes towards abortion than in the last two QoL surveys in 2009 and 2011 respectively;
* 71 % of the respondents believe that the LGBTIAQ+* community deserve equal rights; 37 % strongly believe that homosexuality is against the values of their community while 56 % disagree that it is against the values of their community.
Professor David Everatt, GCRO Executive Director says: "This third survey by the GCRO is probably the largest ever survey of social attitudes in Gauteng, with a sample of 27 493 respondents, and is accurate to ward level. This remarkably powerful dataset has been analysed and mapped at city-region, city and ward level, to give both overview results and fine-grained ward-level comparisons."
The results cover a far wider range of areas, including transport/mobility, decent work, attitudes to the LGBTIAQ+* community, attitudes towards violence against women, poverty, participation in street protests, cross-border and internal migrants and many others.
From these more than 200 variables, 54 are used to construct a 'Quality of Life' index across all local entities. This core index suggests that the three major cities, joined by Mogale City, are consolidating their economies of scale to provide enhanced services, and are found at the upper end of the scale - in complete contrast with previous surveys, where first Midvaal (in 2009) and then Randfontein (in 2011) were the top-scoring municipalities.
"They are now the victims of their own success, as population growth increases the burden on the tax base and on service delivery - and as such, mirror the province as a whole," says Everatt.
More worrying is the fact that while the 'hard' areas of delivery -housing, connectivity, roads, water and electricity connections, for example - are rated highly, mistrust of all spheres of government has reached the highest levels yet recorded by the GCRO. So have related areas of social capital, alienation, massively reduced levels of participation in fora such as IDP meetings.
"The basic needs of many Gautengers have been met, and they acknowledged this. The more complex issues, of building integrated communities that include 'active citizens' to take forward the democratic project, however, are failing badly," said Everatt.
Makhura has welcomed the results adding that the results of the QoL Survey provide the city with an important reality check on the state of the province.
"We welcome the results, even where they show us that there are still challenges."
"When we established the GCRO we envisaged an organisation that would provide us with unbiased and objective research and analysis. We hoped that this would assist both provincial and local governments in Gauteng to make the farsighted, often challenging decisions needed to build this province as a competitive, inclusive and sustainable city region."
Makhuru said such research will assist the province to become an evidence-based governance structure as a new ethos in the province is being established.
Commenting on the results, Tau expressed concern with the low satisfaction with local government.
"This low satisfaction with local government is in spite of the relatively high levels of satisfaction with the things that local government is supposed to do - service delivery. There are also low levels of satisfaction with local government across the province. It does not matter if you are in Midvaal or Johannesburg, the mood with local government is low."
"There are important messages as we head towards the local government elections in 2016. It is not a party-political point. We are seeing low levels of trust in the institution of local municipal governance. This is an issue for local democracy which we must work together to address," said Tau.
Statement issued by Wits/Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO), August 14 2014
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