Gauteng Premier David Makhura has lauded the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) for pioneering the 2017/18 Quality of Life Survey. The results of the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) – a collaboration between the two universities and the Gauteng Provincial Government – were announced at UJ's Arts Centre at the Kingsway campus in Auckland Park today, 13 November 2018.
The biennial survey is the fifth to be conducted since 2009, and surveyed nearly 25,000 people from across the Gauteng Province's 529 wards. The e survey is one of the biggest social attitude surveys in sub-Saharan Africa, and looks at various factors contributing to the quality of life, including access to, and satisfaction with, basic services, government, and transport and mobility. It also looks at people's attitudes towards their livelihoods, neighbourhood; community as well as family dynamics; race and gender relations; health and well-being; and political and social values.
Core findings from the 2017/18 data, together with results from the previous four Quality of Life Surveys, highlight key trends in the Gauteng City-Region over time. The story is broadly positive, with evidence of gradually increasing wellbeing and remarkably resilient governmental service provision under challenging circumstances. However, key issues of concern, for both government and society, were also identified. The survey found that 44% of the province's residents were satisfied with the performance of provincial government, up from 39% in the previous survey in 2015-2016.
Other findings are:
- Gauteng's most satisfied residents live in Ekurhuleni [43%] then Johannesburg [38%] and Tshwane [34%];
- 64% of Emfuleni's residents are dissatisfied with their municipality's administrators;
- Only 37% of people are satisfied with local government;
- 86% of residents are satisfied with their water services, up from 83% in the previous survey;
- 74% of residents are satisfied with energy services, up from 72% in the previous survey;
- a 14% increase in residents trusting their fellow citizens;
- an 11% increase in residents believing it is important to look after the environment;
- a 27% increase in people people participating in community organisations and clubs;
- municipal services, billing, and waste are residents' biggest gripes;
- satisfaction with public health services dropped from 65% in 2015-2016 to 57% in 2017-2018; and
- Only 19% of residents believe enough is being done to grow the economy.
Researchers also found that, for many residents, their three main concerns are crime, unemployment and drug and alcohol abuse.
GCRO Executive Director, Dr Rob Moore pointed out the 44% satisfaction level with provincial government may seem low, but "the increase in satisfaction with provincial government is significant and is more than the satisfaction levels with national government (43%) and local government (37%).
"It is clear satisfaction with government has improved since the last survey, in particular with provincial government, said Dr Moore adding that economic conditions were clearly challenging, with unemployment nearing 30%, the survey showed steady improvement in overall quality of life over time. However, areas such as the cost of municipal services, billing, and waste, in the Gauteng Province as a whole has seen big declines in resident satisfaction
"It is a feature of public sentiment that attitudes to local government are painted by a range of factors beyond basic service delivery. This is a general condition where government is often held accountable for issues beyond its immediate mandate or control."
Dr Moore concluded: "As an independent, trusted and respected survey, the Quality of Life Survey data is highly valued by government, civil society and academic researchers. The data is both demographically and spatially representative. This allows local, provincial and national Government to use the data for policy and decision making, target setting, and to gauge the success of the implementation of initiatives. Both provincial and local government are increasingly making use of this data to respond proactively to different issues that arise in particular places."
In his response, Premier Makhura said he was delighted that Higher Education institutions have pioneered the Quality of Life Survey, and expressed his gratitude to UJ and Wits University, saying this is important for national government. He said the survey allows for policy and decision making, target setting and to gauge the success of the implementation of initiatives. "This allows us to see how our people think and their attitudes enable us to see how perceptions change over time".
Furthermore the Premier bared concern over the three biggest problems in communities, including the high unemployment rate (18%) and concerns about crime being at (32%), drugs and substance abuse at (16%), as revealed by the report.
Please see results here