SA’s top worries: the future, crime, violence, jobs, corruption, poverty, education

What Worries the World survey shows 80% of South Africans polled believe the nation is on the wrong track

Only Mexicans are more concerned about crime and violence than South Africans, a challenge for police minister Bheki Cele (pictured), the government and society. File photo.
Image: Esa Alexander

About eight out of every 10 South Africans polled believe the nation is on the wrong track, says research company Ipsos.

The latest What Worries the World survey, for January 2020, finds most people across the 28 participating nations feel their country is on the wrong track (61% on average), with Italy (83%), SA (79%), France (79%) and Spain (78%) most anxious about the future.

The top five concerns in SA, contrasted with global scores, are:

  • Crime and violence 63% vs 30% (SA’s rank among the world 3)
  • Unemployment 62% vs 31% (1)
  • Financial/political corruption 58% vs 30% (1)
  • Poverty/social inequality 29% vs 34% (18)
  • Education 22% vs 20% (10).

Ipsos said: “The top five worries for online South Africans have remained constant since 2011 with crime and violence and financial and political corruption jostling for top spot in each wave. Unemployment has recently taken over as second from financial and political corruption, perhaps unsurprisingly given the recent spate of retrenchments adding to our already over-burdened unemployment rate.”

Chinese citizens are again most assured about their nation’s direction, with 90% believing their country is heading in the right direction. Saudi Arabia (78%) remains in second place with India (58%) in third place, ahead of Brazil (46%).

Argentina (+16 points) and Great Britain (+15 points) have seen the greatest upsurges in national optimism (to 39% and 40% respectively).

India (58%) is the nation with the largest drop-off in positivity, with a reduction of 11 points from the previous month. The survey also records a nine-point fall in optimism in Malaysia (40%).

The four major worries globally are:

Poverty/social inequality (34%). Russia (with 60%) is the nation most worried about this issue, followed by Chile (55%) and Hungary on 52%. Hungary is also the country with the greatest month-on-month increase in this worry, with a nine percentage point rise. There is also a notable rise in apprehension with an eight percentage point increase to 42% in Belgium. Once more, the US (where it is only mentioned by 22%) is the least concerned nation on this issue.

Unemployment (31%). The highest levels of concern are seen in SA (62%) and Italy (58%) closely followed by South Korea (57%). India (55%) is the nation with the greatest rise in worry for this measure with an 11 percentage point increase from the previous month. Apprehensions about unemployment are lowest in the Netherlands (7%), Germany (9%) and Poland (11%).

Crime and violence (30%). The greatest levels of worry are once again reported in Mexico (66%) with Peru and SA (both 63%) closely following. India (40%) is the nation with the greatest increase from the previous month, with a rise of seven percentage points.

Financial/political corruption (30%). SA (scoring 58%) has the most respondents concerned about this issue, followed by Russia (57%) and Malaysia (53%). Malaysia is also the nation which records the greatest increase in apprehension about this issue with an increase of eight percentage points from the previous month.




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