Survey participants were provided with a set of 13 policy proposals and asked to indicate which they favoured. From this list, food parcels (70% support), increasing the value of social grants (69%), and the R350 Covid relief grant (69%) were the top ranked policy options. This was following, in descending order, by the introduction of a basic income grant (BIG) (61%), payment holiday on accounts, rent, taxes (46%), allowing people to stop paying and be refunded school fees for the time schools are closed (44), and providing free cellphone data (41%).
The high level of support for these policy measures demonstrates the resolute demand for social protection measures to address the lack of cash income and basic food needs that has intensified under lockdown.
The survey findings also demonstrate the extent to which hunger has become a pressing issue under lockdown with 4 in 10 adults reporting going to bed hungry. With 8 in 10 adults reporting difficulty in paying their expenses.
These latest findings come from round 2 of the UJ/HSRC Covid-19 democracy survey, which was conducted between 3 July and 8 September. The data for the second round comprised of 7,966 respondents. 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.
“The findings of the survey show that there is strong public support for policy interventions that would assist the most vulnerable in our society. This includes not only immediate measures, such as providing food parcels or the R350 social relief of distress grant, but also long term measures, such as the introduction of a basic income grant, which could do much to alleviate poverty and inequality in our society. The fact that public support is high for such measures is important and a sign that there is a significant demand on government for policy interventions that would go some way to tackling poverty and extreme inequality,” says Professor Carin Runciman, UJ Associate Professor at the Centre for Social Change.
The survey was conducted through an online survey using the popular #datafree Moya Messenger app, which has 2 million active users. Participants are able to respond to the survey #datafree on the app as well as through the following #datafree link, which has been enabled #datafree by by the parent company of Moya.
The summary report of the round 2 results can be found here.
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