South Africans Divided By Income Inequality


According to the SA Reconciliation Barometer 2011 survey, income inequality is the most divisive issue in the country, even more so than race.

The survey was conducted by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation and polled 3 500 people. Of those 3 500 people, 32% believed that income inequality was South Africa’s most divisive issue while only 20% believed it was race that divided the country. Even political party affiliations were thought to be more divisive than race with a figure of 22%.

Despite these figures, the survey indicates that there is hope for a united country as 66% of people believed that creating a united country is desirable and 60% believe it’s possible. Meanwhile 70% of those surveyed stated that they wanted to forget about the past and move on with their lives with this figure being consistent across the four major race groups.

The researchers stated that racism and prejudice had declined. Since the surveys inception in 2003, there has been a major step forward in equal racial interaction with about 57% of South Africans interacting with people of other races compared to a low of 41% in 2004. This interaction was found to be the greatest in the higher income groups and lowest in the lower income groups.

While this figure has risen greatly, 17% of respondents stated that they rarely socialised across race lines and 42% never did.

The study also found that faith in local government is at an all-time low. Only 43% indicated confidence in the country’s municipalities while confidence in the presidency, Parliament and the national and provincial governments were all about 50%.

Kate Lefko-Everett, who compiled the report, stated that there was a two percent margin of error in the survey.

Even if a margin of error is taken into account, these figures do indicate that South Africa seems to be on the right track to becoming a unified nation.

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