Trevor Manuel is (or was) one of the ANC’s best assets. Someone not tainted by the stench of corruption, someone with impeccable struggle credentials, someone not afraid to confront racist comments or difficult issues head-on. A politician that most people TRUST in a country where 85% say that politicians are only interested in themselves and in power.
As far as 87% of South Africans are concerned (compared with 73% in 2012) it is time they (and not a political party) should choose their own president.
As a maturing democracy the country appears to be more ready than is generally believed for non-racial or non-ethnic based leadership. Almost nine out of ten South Africans are already opposed to quotas of any kind, believing the best person should be given the job regardless of race or gender:
Similarly, futurefact finds that over 80% of South Africans say that they are comfortable with people of the same class, status or education regardless of their race and that they enjoy going to places where people of all races go. 70% say they have friends from other race groups and 80% believe that all South Africans can co-exist peacefully without losing their cultural identity.
In fact, what South Africans are increasingly concerned about is the rise of tribalism: between 2008 and 2013, the percentage of people worrying that “we are again seeing ourselves as Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans etc. rather than as a unified nation” increased from 63% to 73%. Plus, 88% see our cultural and social diversity as a major advantage and something to celebrate after 20 years of democracy. This could well imply that the country is ready for a leader from a minority ethnic segment, like Cyril Ramaphosa who already inspires growing confidence levels.
We seem to be a nation that wants to live up to our motto: Unity in Diversity.
futurefact has been surveying the attitudes and beliefs of South Africans since 1998. The findings presented above are from futurefact 2013 which is based on a probability sample of 3,025 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
(Published by politicsweb, Sunday 23 March, 2014 - "What South Africans think of racial quotas")