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Justice Malala, in his Monday Morning Matters column in The Times (15 April 2013), draws analogies between the strikes that were crippling Britain in the late 70s with those having the same impact in South Africa today. Where Britain had a strong, consistent and decisive leader in Margaret Thatcher who took on the unions and systematically broke their hold on Britain, we have Jacob Zuma and the ANC who have the trade unions as alliance partners in government.

futurefact finds that 80% of South Africans agree (50% strongly) that they would “would like to see a really strong leader emerge who would re-establish order and discipline”.  If there is one place where strong leadership is required in South Africa it is in education.  South Africa’s ranks 143rd out of 144 countries for the quality of its maths and science education and 139th for its overall education system.  How is this possible when South Africa will spend 46.7-bn on education in 2013/14 tax year and when its percentage expenditure on education in terms of GDP (5.3%) ranks 46th out of 132 countries surveyed by nationmaster? 

SADTU and weak leadership is how.  Jacob Zuma made grand speeches about making education an essential service but caved in to SADTU reinforcing why six out of ten South Africans already believe that “the ANC leadership no longer cares about the people”.  The truth is that his statements about challenging SADTU would have met with favour among his constituents, whose opinions will start to count much more as we approach election year in 2014.  60% believe that providers of essential services like teachers, nurses and police should not be allowed to strike.

As Justice Malala says:  “It is time to confront SADTU and bring it to heel.  If he (Pres. Zuma) finds the courage to do this future generations will hail him as a hero, a revolutionary and a transformer”.

futurefact has been surveying the attitudes and beliefs of South Africans since 1998. The findings presented above are from futurefact 2012 which is based on a probability sample of 2,946 adults aged 15 years and over, living in communities of more than 500 people throughout South Africa representing 21.6 million adults.

If you would like to find out more about futurefact and its extensive attitudinal databases please contact Jos Kuper 082 904 9939 or check out www.futurefact.co.za