The Centre for Social Change (CSC), which is the home of the DST/NRF South African Research Chair in Social Change (The Chair), conducts interdisciplinary research on social change. Over the years this Centre has built a strong track record in the research, analysis and theoretical explanation of social movements, strikes and protests. The CSC takes pride in producing high-quality, rigorous, educational material for academic, media and other publications. This while actively engaging civil society, academics and the wider public in thinking about alternative futures, including possibilities for decolonisation.
Led by Professor Peter Alexander our team comprises researchers, Post-Doctoral Fellows, and students. We also have a network of research associates, collaborators and associates located elsewhere in South Africa and around the world.
In addition to providing strategic direction and implementing the Centre's vision, Prof Alexander also ensures that the objectives of The CSC and The Chair are aligned and complement one another.
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CSC is the home DST/NRF South African Research Chair in Social Change
21 April 2020
fosters distress and social division - survey shows (Click here for the full media relese)
The University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Centre for
Social Change, in partnership with the Development, Capable and Ethical State
of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) have released initial findings
from an ongoing survey on the public perceptions of the economic, social and
political impact of Covid-19 on life across the country.
survey was conducted through cell phones and the internet, with no cost to
participants. It went live on 13 April 2020 and data was downloaded on 18
April. Analysis is based on 5,481 completed questionnaires. Findings have been
weighted to match Statistics South Africa data on race, education and age, and
can be regarded as broadly representative of the population at large.
President is regarded as doing a good job in his handling of the Coronavirus
outbreak. However, the survey also highlights the adverse socio-economic and
psycho-social impacts of the lockdown, with those hardest hit showing lower
levels of support. The data also demonstrate there is broad support for policy
interventions that will assist the poorest sections of society, including,
especially, distribution of food parcels, introduction of a basic income grant,
and increased social grants. There was minimal backing for removing
restrictions on the sale of cigarettes and alcohol.
findings come at a watershed moment, when the President and Cabinet must again
make hard choices.
The key findings demonstrate:
- 73% believed that President Cyril Ramaphosa is doing a good job,
with only 4% saying he was doing a bad job, a difference of 69%
- By contrast, only 25% thought their councillor was doing a good
job, with 24% saying they were doing a bad job, a difference of 1%.
- 43% of South Africans supported the lockdown with its current level
of restrictions, 37% supported amendments to the regulations, and only 5%
were opposed to the lockdown.
However, the lockdown has caused considerable
financial and emotional distress. Thus:
- 66% were struggling to pay for their expenses, and 28% had gone to
- The most commonly experienced emotion was stress (57%), next was
boredom (45%), followed by fear (43%). In comparison only 13% had
Socio-economic status impacts strongly on support for
the extended lockdown (announced on 9 April). The findings show;
- Among those who had gone to bed hungry during the lockdown, only
34% backed the lockdown unconditionally, compared to 48% for those who had
not been to bed hungry.
- Wealthier people are far more likely to give unconditional support
to the lockdown than those who are poor. The figures are 70% for those
with a personal income between R20,001 and R40,000 and only 35% for those
with a personal income of less than R1000 a month.
- Young South Africans are far less likely to give unconditional
support to the lockdown than those who are older. Only 35% of 18-24
year-olds backed this option, compared with a figure of 62% for those over
Respondents were asked to indicate which of 12 policy
proposals they favoured. The analysis showed:
- 71% supporting the distribution of food parcels, 56% supporting the introduction of a basic
income grant, 52% supporting a payment holiday for accounts, rents and
taxes, and the same percentage supporting an increase in the value of
- By contrast, only a small minority supported lifting restrictions
on the sale of alcohol (12%) and tobacco (17%).
Over the next few weeks, the project team will continue assessing the
attitudes, behaviours and experiences of people during the Coronavirus crisis.
For those interested in completing the survey, the data free link can be found