Most SA citizens still to cross race divide

ONLY half of South Africans in a nationwide survey felt race relations were better today than under apartheid.

ONLY half of South Africans in a nationwide survey felt race relations were better today than under apartheid.

A report released yesterday revealed that 46percent of those questioned still said they never socialised with people of other races in their own homes, or homes of friends.

One in four said that on a "typical day during the week" they never spoke to people of other races.

The report, the annual SA Reconciliation Barometer, was compiled by the Cape Town-based Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.

It was based on questions put to what the institute said was a nationally representative sample of some 3500 people in the two months leading up to this year's election.

Its authors said the levels of inter-racial contact had remained "relatively static" since the survey was first conducted in 2003.

They said the surveys had over recent years found "receding levels of confidence in a range of public institutions, less trust in political leadership, and worsening evaluations of the performance of government".

This was likely due to the political fluidity and economic insecurity of recent years.

The report said that between 2006 and 2009, confidence that leaders could be trusted to "do what is right" most of the time had dropped by 15percent to the current level of 50percent.

Agreement that the country was "going in the right direction" had dropped by 26percent over the same period. Nonetheless, 60percent still agreed that Parliament could usually be trusted to make decisions right for the country.

The survey also revealed that a growing number of respondents - 58percent - agreed that courts should rule according to the Constitution - even if that contradicted what most South Africans wanted. - Sapa

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