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South Africans losing faith in President Cyril Ramaphosa's handling of Covid-19 - report

President Cyril Ramaphosa Picture: Kopano Tlape/GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa Picture: Kopano Tlape/GCIS

Published Aug 4, 2020


Durban - South Africans have lost trust in President Cyril Ramaphosa and the government's overall handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to a report by Ask Afrika, even though Ramaphosa's ratings fared better than his predecessors, complete distrust in him peaked this week.

Ask Afrika CEO and founder Andrea Rademeyer said 68% of citizens believed there was more corruption evident in SA compared to previous years.

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"Consistently since May, only 24% of citizens have not heard, seen or read about healthcare corruption. It is unlikely, that politicians and business have only become aware of it now.

“Perception of government performance in mitigating and managing the pandemic has fallen steeply and consistently. The report showed that 46% of people in Gauteng and 47% people in the Western Cape agreed that government had acted appropriately in managing Covid-19, while people in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal believed the opposite," she said.

Rademeyer said those living in the Western Cape and Gauteng expected more delivery from the goverment than any other province.

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"Only 16% of people completely agree that government did enough to support business during lockdown. The highest disagreement lies in Gauteng at 41%," she said.

The report found that North West experienced the highest distress, whilst also showing very low trust in the government and maybe subsequently having the lowest level of behavioural adherence to sanitation guidelines.

She said the fear of unemployment was higher than the fear of contracting Covid-19.

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"Optimism is now lower and discouragement higher than it was at the beginning of the lockdown. About 50% are concerned due to underlying conditions, especially males and those in the age group 50 to 64 years.

“Citizens are very slowly moving through the stages of grief as the lockdown progresses. The survey showed that 43% of citizens are still at risk to poor sanitation behaviours due to their mindsets, where 21% deny the existence of the coronavirus or are angry about its effects and 22% bargain with their behaviours. Only 21% are accepting the post-Covid reality," she said.

Rademeyer said there was a difference between the willingness and the ability to sanitise.

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"The requirement for self-isolation gets the lowest behavioural practice, with women faring better than men. In the Northern Cape, 77% of the community had not reduced social interaction while 75% of the people said that they have ignored government's call to stay at home," she said.

Gauteng had the highest adherence to lockdown regulations, while KZN showed the biggest improvement in hand-washing.

Other findings from the report found that people were more likely to go to a pharmacy for medication rather than a clinic or hospital, while 58% of people believed in natural or herbal remedies and 31% of people sought out ritual or traditional healing.

According to the report:

  • Only 13% of citizens are not concerned about the availability of C19 test kits
  • Only 30% of citizens are not concerned that the healthcare system will cope.
  • Only 10% are not concerned that there are enough hospital beds.
  • 44% are extremely concerned about the insufficient availability of ventilators.
  • 81% are concerned that the front-line of doctors and nurses will contract C19
  • Only 14% are not concerned that HCW might strike or that healthcare worker unions might exploit the situation around the Covid-19 pandemic.