06/12/2017 12:54 SAST | Updated 06/12/2017 12:54 SAST

Study: Government And Zuma Responsible for SA's Problems

The team conducted 10 focus groups with more than 2,000 citizens in various provinces, a sample group to reflect the views of 37-million South Africans.

Sumaya Hisham / Reuters
President Jacob Zuma gestures as he addresses parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

More than 70 percent of South Africans who partook in a national study believe the country is heading down a negative trajectory and feel disempowered by state capture and corruption.

The study also found that almost half of the citizens interviewed are dissatisfied with government at all levels. And who is at fault? Almost 40 percent thought government is responsible for the country's negative trajectory, and 29 percent directly blamed President Jacob Zuma.

In August this year, Ask Afrika and Infusion Knowledge Hub were commissioned by the Centre for Communication and Reputation Management at the University of Pretoria to look into the views of ordinary citizens around corruption and state capture.

The research team conducted 10 focus groups with more than 2,000 citizens in various provinces, a sample group which is said to reflect the views of 37-million South Africans. The results of the research were unpacked at The Nation's Voice on State Capture and Corruption workshop in Sandton on Wednesday.

This is what the research found:

  • It revealed a culture of blind following and apathy, which allows leadership to get away with underperformance. Just under half (41 percent) of respondents said they would automatically follow the direction of political leaders.
  • Of the people interviewed, 89 percent have heard of the term "corruption", and 99 percent think it is unacceptable.
  • They also believe that it is a punishable offence: 62 percent expect a prison sentence and criminal charges to be laid against corrupt officials, and 41 percent said they would vote corrupt politicians out.
  • The biggest impact of corruption and state capture on citizens is that it creates a personal sense of disempowerment, with 73 percent of people feeling disempowered as a result of corruption, and 71 percent as a result of state capture.
  • The majority of citizens believe that their basic needs are not being met as a result of corruption and state capture, with 77 percent feeling that the country is moving in the wrong direction.
  • The data indicates that the national psyche that ties citizens together irrespective of background or differences is their willingness to fight against corruption (51 percent), their desire to see employment created for all (46 percent) and their dedication to fighting poverty (43 percent).