Most South Africans write off local government
Most South Africans have moderate trust in government institutions such as the judiciary, the public protector and parliament, but little confidence in local government.
This is according to the 2011 SA Reconciliation Barometer, released in Durban yesterday by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.
"Unfortunately, confidence remains far lower in this sphere of government than at the national or provincial levels," said senior project leader Kate Lefko-Everett.
She revealed that, in 2011, only 43% of South Africans indicated that they had confidence in local government, compared with far more positive evaluations of provincial government (56%), national government (65%) parliament (61%) and The Presidency (65%).
"Confidence in local government has, in fact, never again reached its highest levels as recorded by the SARB survey at 50% in 2006.
"Though little variation was recorded between provinces, average confidence in local government was highest in Northern Cape and lowest in Eastern Cape."
The survey found that just over half of South Africans believed that the "people who run the country are not really concerned with what happens to people like [us]".
"This is a worrying finding. The percentage of South Africans who believe they can trust national leaders to do what is right has fallen from 58% in 2010 to 51% in 2011," said Lefko-Everett.
She said 59% of South Africans believed the country had made progress in reconciliation since 1994, but only 36% of the respondents said they had personally experienced reconciliation.
The institute's head of policy and analysis, Jan Hofmeyr, said economic inequality had surpassed race as the most touchy issue among South Africans.
Since 1994, South Africa has become the most unequal society among its peers," he said.