Limiting freedoms during Covid: Study reveals black people more willing to sacrifice to curb virus spread
Black South Africans are more willing than their white counterparts to sacrifice their rights to curb the spread of Covid-19 and save lives, according to a survey released by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) on Wednesday.
The HSRC and the University of Johannesburg conducted an online survey using a data-free Moya Messenger app and through links shared on Facebook and Twitter.
The aim was to find the public’s opinion and experience on access to human rights during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The study investigated limiting freedoms on citizens within the context of Covid-19. Researches said the way in which people viewed their rights was an intriguing aspect of the study.
The study revealed regulations under lockdown affected people and groups disproportionately. As an example, the value based on life vs the value based on privilege would differ.
Human rights and social justice activist Mark Heywood, who was one of the panellists at the launch of the survey, said the study showed most people were willing to make “reasonable” sacrifices in the interest of greater good during the pandemic.
“The survey shows there is a connection between the people who call themselves pro-human rights as opposed to those who are antisocial — behaviour like the refusal to wear a mask and an unwillingness to take a vaccine,” Heywood said.
The survey was conducted in three rounds: April 2020 to May 2020, August 2020 to October 2020, and December 2020 to January 2021. It was done among adults of different races, ages, gender and education.
In the first round, 12,312 people took the survey. In the second round 9,519 people participated and 10,618 participated in the last round.
Participants were asked about the right to go to places of worship, to travel, attend school and university, to protest and the right to privacy and not share information with the government, among other rights.
According to the HSRC, 81% of black South Africans were willing to give up their rights to stop the spread of the virus, compared to 70% of coloured people and 58% of white people.
The full discussion on the finding can be accessed here.