DA federal council chair Helen Zille addresses the media with former leader Mmusi Maimane and ex-Nelson Mandela mayor Athol Trollip. Itumeleng English African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - The Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index, launched in April by Professor Talita Greyling, a researcher in wellbeing economics and development economics at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) along with Auckland University of Technology’s Dr Stephanie Rossouw and Afstereo, showed unexpected results during last week’s turmoil surrounding the DA resignations.

The GNH measures the happiness level of South Africans.

Since October 21 when Herman Mashaba announced his resigning as mayor of Johannesburg, followed by that of DA leader Mmusi Maimane, and DA federal chairperson Athol Trollip on October 23, the Happiness Index showed a surprising increase above the average levels of happiness.

Greyling, a researcher in well-being economics and development economics, has published in the top ranked journals in this field of study.

The Happiness Index, constructed based on sentiment analysis of posts on Twitter, and measured on a scale from 1 to 10, showed higher happiness levels of up to 6.66.

The Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index showed unexpected results during last week’s turmoil surrounding the DA resignations.

Many tweets revealed positive sentiment. And from the content of the tweets it seemed South Africans were pleased about the breakaway from the “white-dominated liberal party”. There was also an expectation of a new party that will lead South Africa out of poverty, inequality and unemployment, following a regime of pro-poor growth.

In contrast, the appointment of John Steenhuisen as the new DA leader on Sunday morning did not have much effect on the Happiness Index. It was overshadowed by a sharp increase in happiness levels on Sunday afternoon at 1pm - at a level of 7.2 - much higher than the average happiness levels of 6.1 experienced on Sundays at that time of day.

This bout of happiness was due to the Springboks beating Wales in the semi-finals to ensure a place in the World Cup Rugby final.

Cape Argus