28 October 2021.
Only 15% of South Africans say they trust the current government, but two thirds are still optimistic about the future.

BMIT, in partnership with myBroadband and BusinessTech, recently conducted a large consumer survey with 1300 participants related to attitudes and perceptions around major topics such as their personal financial situation, government and tech companies.

“In the first of a series of six-monthly surveys, 52% of people surveyed said that they are worse off financially than last year, with only 26% agreeing that they are better off than last year. When segmenting the results by household income, we observed that those in lower income brackets were even more likely to be worse off than before as compared to those in higher income brackets.

With the upcoming local elections around the corner, it is quite staggering to note that only 15% of South Africans say they trust the current government. When broken down into household income, those with the lowest income were more likely to trust the government (17%) while those in the highest income brackets were the least likely to trust them (7%).

Considering the recent unrest in South Africa, we note that 54% of respondents said they think that the social unrest will continue in South Africa. When asked about emigration, 32% said they are seriously considering moving to another country, with this percentage being fairly constant across all income brackets, but with those in the 18-24 age category being most likely to agree with the statement.

With South Africa coming out of the 3rd wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst almost half (43%) thought the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, a surprisingly high number (36%) remain unsure, or don’t know. It is a worry that 21% of South Africans disagree that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, with a concerning 28% thinking there is a ‘hidden agenda’ behind the COVID-19 pandemic. We noted that attitudes towards the COVID-19 vaccine being unsafe also correlated highly with the belief that childhood vaccines are not safe, although there is more distrust of the COVID-19 vaccine than there is of childhood vaccines.

In terms of technology, most respondents (46%) disagreed that technology does more harm than good. However when it came to large tech companies, only 32% felt that they could be trusted, while 21% disagreed. Half of the respondents did not agree that information shared on social media could be trusted, with only 13% agreeing.

The past few years have seen a notable increase in climate related disasters, and it's therefore encouraging to see that 75% of South Africans said that climate change is a serious problem, with younger age groups slightly more concerned than their older counterparts.

When it came to society, 65% of respondents agreed that society is becoming more divided, and 64% of respondents disagreed with the statement that South Africa is a country of equal opportunity. However, when asked whether they had a positive outlook for the future, two-thirds or respondents (67%) said they agreed or strongly agreed, with those in younger age groups being far more positive about the future than the older generations.

The survey was weighted against the online population, and BMIT plans to conduct a similar survey every six months and track changes to these attitudes and perceptions over time. Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with a number of statements, with results shown below:

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