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No wonder people talk of ‘semi-grating’ to the WC

Perhaps it is no surprise to those who love Cape Town and the Western Cape, its wine farms, mountain and lifestyle, that fewer residents of the province are seriously intending to go to live or work overseas than residents of the rest of the country. And perhaps it is no surprise too that they are a more critical bunch when it comes to the political situation in the country. They are a maverick element when it comes to political affiliation as we know, but it is also fascinating that 57% are prepared to pay a bit more tax so that everyone in the country has access to good medical treatment. And more already pay income tax than in the rest of the country: 52% vs 44% (futurefact universe of non rural people).

They love their province, no doubt, and yet they are less likely to feel their quality of life is better than it would be elsewhere (50% vs 70%). Perhaps some of the answer lies in their belief that ‘the government has forgotten about people like me’ and while their commitment to South Africa is good at 7,4, it is slightly lower than average at 7,8. In fact they are considerably more negative regarding South Africa’s achievements on a number of fronts:  economic sustainability, political stability, our position on the UN Security Council, our membership of BRICS, and on the AU President being a South African. 

They are also less likely to acknowledge that they personally have benefited from democracy: 49% say they have benefited a little, 27% a lot, compared to the country as a whole at 40% and 44% respectively. Together with their Gauteng peers, they dislike the idea of e-tolls, but are far more likely than Gautengers to think the Protection of Information Bill, BEE and Affirmative Action are bad ideas.

Yet there are good things in their lives: 80% live in suburbia compared with 55% in Gauteng. More are in full time employment than the country as a whole and fewer are unemployed and still looking for work. The province has a bulging middle class at 54% with a big reduction in the working class proportion in only one generation.  Far fewer send their children to private schools than is the case in the country as a whole and more have studied science, maths, or IT subjects. It is interesting though that despite 43% having Afrikaans and 19% Xhosa as a home language (with 35% English), 60% of parents in the WC send their children to English medium schools.  

On the crime front too, the ‘Kaapies’ appear to have it better: they are lower in terms of either themselves or a member of their family being victims of abuse by a family member or friend. They are also considerably less likely to be frightened of the police, less likely to endorse taking the law into their own hands, and less likely to believe a lot of the police are criminals themselves. This is not to say, though, that there is no belief in these negative aspects of the SAPS – considerable proportions do feel this way though at a lower level than the country.

Bribe paying is also more likely to be frowned upon in the Western Cape than other parts of the country. There is only a marginal 11% belief that it is OK to take a bribe to get a contract or tender provided the job is executed properly – half that of the country as a whole. The same proportion (11%) would pay a bribe to avoid a fine, again lower than the national average. 

 There are 3,227 million people in non rural WC, just under half the number in Gauteng but it is the racial mix that is the major driving phenomenon in demographic terms: just over half are coloured, followed by whites at just over a quarter, with 1 in 5 being black. It has an interesting mix of cultures and languages which impact on the interrelationships and attitudes, but the commitment to the country is good as is commitment to our democratic foundations. 

It is easy to notice the greater dissatisfaction levels with what is occurring in the country both politically and on a range of social issues. However, while this is true, it is also important to note that there is more optimism than pessimism, that the concern with corruption and crime is at a lower level than that in Gauteng, that state schooling appears to be a lot better and that there is even a lower intention to leave to work or live elsewhere than for the country as a whole. All of these factors play out in the media, with greater trust placed in journalists than in the country as a whole and fewer believing the Secrecy Bill is a good idea. 

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

First published in The Media, September 2014  http://wagmags.co.za/themedia/sep14/#/1/