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Survey shows discord

By Moses Mackay | 2011-12-08 09:12:01.0

THE Institute for Justice and Reconciliation says many South Africans have lost trust in the government due to corruption and that the Secrecy Bill will further erode their trust.

The institute's director, Dr Fanie du Toit, was speaking at a media briefing in Cape Town yesterday after the organisation released the 2011 South Africa Reconciliation Barometer national survey.

The survey was a nationally representative public opinion poll conducted by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation since 2003.

It was the only survey in South Africa that provided a barometer of the progress in reconciliation since the transition to democracy in 2004. Du Toit told journalists many South Africans have lost trust in the government due to corruption and that the Secrecy Bill would further erode their trust.

"We have found that many South Africans have perceptions and prejudices about the government.

"People have lost trust in government and that mistrust is bad for reconciliation," he said.

There was also a perception that rich people had failed to show solidarity with poor people in the country.

"It is important that rich people show solidarity with the poor. This is not happening," he said.

While some people had been socialising with people from other racial groups, many people of the same racial groups had failed to do so.

"In recent times we have seen an incident where Andries Tatane died during a violent protest in Ficksburg.

"There were also some utterances made by the suspended ANC Youth League president Julius Malema regarding the ANC, struggle songs and other political issues.

"These events had contributed to the race relations and people's perceptions about one another."

About 66% of South Africans felt that reconciliation was possible and desirable in the country.

Du Toit's colleague, Kate Lefko-Everett, said the survey was carried out through face-to-face interviews conducted in rural and urban areas in the country, using a qualitative questionaire that included about 100 survey items. About 3500 people were interviewed using six languages.

Kate Lefko-Everett, a senior project leader, said: "We have established that South Africa is still a divided and polarised society.