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UJ and HSRC release findings of the COVID-19 Democracy Survey


​The University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Centre for Social Change (CSC), in partnership with the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) have released initial findings from an ongoing COVID-19 online survey among South African adults to determine the social and economic impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic, with a particular emphasis on lockdown experiences and attitudes.

The survey went live on a webinar recently in 04 June 2020 under the theme ‘COVID-19 Democracy Survey: What does the public think about lockdown and what impact has it had on their lives?

The results considered the public’s views on schools, the impact on mental health, as well as the latest developments on the limitation of human rights and how class has shaped the lockdown experience. The research was based on a three phased survey which was conducted in April and May this year by UJ’s Centre for Social Change and the HSRC’s Developmental, Capable and Ethical State (DCES) division.

Phase 1 of the survey covered the days from 13-18 April, Phase 2 from 18-27 April, and Phase 3 from 27 April to 13 May 2020.

UJ-HSRC Covid-19 Democracy Survey Summary Findings

Some key findings include:

  • That three quarters (78%) of the public are willing to sacrifice their human rights if it helps to control the spread of the virus.
  • Hunger has been increasing: In the first phase of the survey (between 13-18 April) 33% of the public reported going to be hungry, and by phase 3 (27 April-13 May) this had increased by 10% points to 43%.
  • 60% of South Africans are frequently stressed and 46% are scared. Around a third (33%) are depressed. As a benchmark, depression has been clinically measured at between 18% and 27% in less unusual times, so it is likely that there has been an appreciable increase.

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 biNu, the parent company of Moya:

A total of 12,232 fully completed survey responses were collected and the data has been benchmarked to Statistics South Africa population stats, weighted by race, age and educational attainment, making them broadly representative of the adult population (18+ years).



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