PART B: COVID-19: ITS SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACT ON ANC MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS

SURVEY SYNOPSIS – WHAT IMPACT HAVE THE MEASURES TAKEN BY GOVERNMENT TO COMBAT THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC HAD ON THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC WELLBEING OF ANC MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS?

In an effort to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, the South African nation is currently under lockdown. This is resulting in a considerable impact on people’s livelihoods and on the life of society. As the ruling party of the country, it has to act in the national interest, despite the potential negative impact that some government decisions may have on its own support base. The survey covered in this report assesses the socio-economic impact of the measures taken by the authorities to combat Covid-19 on the membership and support base of the ANC. It follows on a previous report on the political impact on the membership and supporters, of the measures taken by the authorities and the effect that it has had on the leadership of, and levels of support for the movement. The two reports, read together, comprise the full analysis of the survey undertaken between 13 and 15 May 2020.

All records and findings included in this report, stem from the survey undertaken from 13 to 15 May 2020 on the impact on the leadership and support of the ANC as a result of the measures taken by government to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Inclusive Society Institute
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DISCLAIMER

Views expressed in this report do not necessarily represent the views of the Inclusive Society Institute or those of their respective Board or Council members or Members.

CONTENT

  1. Background
  2. Key findings
    1. Members and supporters who continue to receive their salary during lockdown
    2. Members and supporters who do not receive their salary during lockdown
    3. Findings in a nutshell
  3. Recommendations

List of figures

Figure 2.1: Indication of access to food with regard to supporters continuing to receive their income during the lockdown

Figure 2.2: Demographics of households receiving income during the lockdown, but with insufficient food

Figure 2.3: Comparative analysis on perception of economic future: Respondents with income during the lockdown, but insufficient food versus all respondents

Figure 2.4: No salary/wages during lockdown household demographics

Figure 2.5: Comparative regarding support for the measures taken by the authorities to combat Covid-19 and retained favourable opinion of the ANC: Households not receiving salaries or wages during lockdown versus overall average

Figure 2.6: Illustration of new grant recipient potential additions as a result of Covid-19 lockdown

Figure 2.7: Comparison between respondents not receiving salary or wages during lockdown versus overall average

 

1. BACKGROUND

The Inclusive Society Institute undertook a survey between 13 and 15 May 2020 to test the impact of Covid-19 on the members and supporters of the ANC. It tested both the impact of the measures taken by the authorities on the leadership of and support for the movement, as well as the socio-economic impact thereof on ANC members and supporters.

The first report was issued on 21 May 2020 and is available on www.inclusivesociety.org.za. It dealt with the first part of the assessment, that is the impact on the support for the movement and its leaders.

This synopsis contains only the key findings of the survey with regard to the socio-economic impact aspects of the survey. The motivation for the survey, background and methodology thereof is contained in the aforementioned report.

2. KEY FINDINGS 

2.1 MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS WHO CONTINUE TO RECEIVE THEIR SALARY DURING LOCKDOWN

Sixty-three per cent of those surveyed continued to receive a salary during the lockdown.

Ninety-five per cent and 92 per cent of those respondents that continue to receive their salary during lockdown, had access to electricity and clean water respectively.

Of those members that continue to receive their salary, 79 per cent had access to food (74 per cent sufficient, 5 per cent some but needed additional help), with 18 per cent indicating that they did not have sufficient access to food. The full breakdown is illustrated in Figure 2.1 below.

Figure 2.1: Indication of access to food with regard to supporters continuing to receive their income during the lockdown

A deeper study of the 17 per cent that receive a salary, but which did not have access to sufficient food, revealed that 74 per cent of those households had unemployed persons in their households, 54 per cent had more than three children per household and 48 per cent had unemployed persons in the household, together with more than 3 children per household.

Figure 2.2: Demographics of households receiving income during the lockdown, but with insufficient food

It is interesting to note that, despite not having access to sufficient food, 80 per cent of those respondents’ opinion of the ANC either improved or remained the same (52 per cent’s opinion improved, 28 per cent’s remained unchanged). And 91 per cent continued to support the measures taken by the authorities to combat the coronavirus.

However, only 54 per cent, which is much lower than the two-thirds of all respondents, believed their lives would improve after lockdown. Similarly, this group of respondents were less confident in the economy’s ability to recover sufficiently in the year ahead. Seventy-six per cent believed that the economy would either not recover (11 per cent) or not to the same levels as prior to lockdown (65 per cent). This juxtaposed against the overall average of 62 per cent of all respondents – that is those receiving and not receiving income during the lockdown – that believed the economy would either not recover or recover to levels the same as prior to lockdown.

Figure 2.3: Comparative analysis on perception of economic future:

Respondents with income during the lockdown, but insufficient food versus all respondents

2.2 MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS WHO DO NOT RECEIVE THEIR SALARY DURING LOCKDOWN

Thirty-seven per cent of respondents do not continue to receive their salaries or wages during the lockdown.

Of the 37 per cent, 86 per cent have access to electricity and 91 per cent have access to clean water.

With regard to having access to food, the majority (61 per cent) either did not have access to food, or not access to enough food (31 per cent no food and 30 per cent not enough food).

Of those respondents that indicated that they either did not have access to food or to enough food, 81 per cent had unemployed persons in the household and 85 per cent had children in the home (of which 40 per cent had 1 to 2 children in the household and 45 per cent three or more). Thirty-one per cent of households in this category of respondents had unemployed people and three or more children in the household.

Figure 2.4: No salary/wages during lockdown household demographics

In this category of respondents, 87 per cent supported the measures taken by the authorities to combat the coronavirus, and 79 per cent’s opinion of the ANC improved or remained the same. With regard to support for the measures taken, this is not far off the overall percentage of all respondents, where 90 per cent supported the measures. Similarly, the percentage of respondents whose opinion of the ANC improved or remained the same was not much lower than the overall percentage of 82 per cent.

Figure 2.5: Comparative regarding support for the measures taken by the authorities to combat Covid-19 and retained favourable opinion of the ANC: Households not receiving salaries or wages during lockdown versus overall average

Eighty-five per cent of the respondents who do not continue to receive a salary during the lockdown, did not receive a government grant or aid prior to the lockdown. Of this 85 percent, 74 per cent now need a government grant or aid, for example food. Seventy per cent of such respondents have or intend to apply for a grant or aid.

Figure 2.6: Illustration of new grant recipient potential additions as a result of Covid-19 lockdown

From the limited data available, it appears that those respondents that have applied for aid in one form or another have found the process quite difficult. Seventy-six per cent indicated that the process was either difficult or very difficult. A deeper understanding is required as to this perception, for which the data does not exist in this survey.

Back to the respondents that do not receive their wages or salaries during the lockdown, as they perceive the future, 62 per cent of respondents were of the opinion that the economy will not in the coming year recover to levels prior to lockdown, whilst 57 per cent felt positive about their own life improving after the lockdown. Whilst the former is in line with the overall average of 62 per cent, the latter is somewhat lower than the 64 per cent overall average.

Figure 2.7: Comparison between respondents not receiving salary or wages during lockdown versus overall average

2.3 FINDINGS IN A NUTSHELL

2.3.1 Respondents continuing to receive their wages and salaries during the Covid-19 lockdown

  • With regard to the ANC members and supporters who are continuing to receive their wages and salaries during the lockdown, they appear to be coping adequately under the lockdown situation the country finds itself in.
  • In the main, they have access to electricity (95 per cent), water (92 per cent) and food (79 per cent). That being said, there is a material number (17 per cent) of respondents that are having difficulty in accessing sufficient food. The households that are finding the sourcing of food difficult are, to a large extent, characterised by having unemployed members in the household (74 per cent), as well as big families with three or more children (54 per cent), which conceivably contribute to their ability to provide sufficiently. Forty-eight per cent of households finding it difficult to source sufficient food have unemployed persons and three or more children to take care of.
  • These respondents remain firm in their support for the ANC. Even those finding access to food difficult, remain loyal, with 80 per cent of their opinion of the ANC either improving or remaining the same. In all, 84 per cent of the respondents in this category have improved their opinion of the ANC or it has stayed the same. The overall average of all respondents, that is those that receive wages and salaries and those that do not, is 82 per cent.
  • In a similar vein, this category of respondents is firm in their support for the measures taken by the authorities to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Overall, 92 per cent support the measures, including an exceptionally high 91 per cent of those respondents that have difficulties in accessing food. The overall average of all respondents, that is those that receive wages and salaries and those that do not, is 90 per cent.
  • However, whilst the category in the main is of the opinion that the economy will not improve to levels similar to those just prior to the lockdown, there is a diversion between those that do not have difficulties in accessing food and those that do. Those that do not have problems in accessing food stand at 64 per cent, whilst those that do have such difficulties stand at 54 per cent. The overall average of all respondents, that is those that receive wages and salaries and those that don’t, is 62 per cent.
  • And similarly, 67 per cent of those that do not have difficulties in accessing food believe their own well-being will improve after the lockdown is lifted, this percentage drops to 54 per cent amongst those that do have difficulty in accessing food. The overall average of all respondents in the survey stands at 64 per cent.

2.3.2 Respondents that do not receive a salary or wages during the lockdown

As can be expected, this category of respondents is finding it significantly more difficult to keep their heads above water during the lockdown. It has, however, not significantly swayed their support for the ANC.

In the main they have access to electricity (86 per cent) and water (91 per cent). However, 61 per cent had insufficient food, and are now largely dependent on grants and/or aid to survive.

These respondents remain relatively firm in their support for the ANC. Seventy-nine per cent’s opinion of the ANC either improved or remained the same. The overall average of all respondents, that is those that receive wages and salaries and those that do not, is 82 per cent.

In a similar vein, this category of respondents is firm in their support for the measures taken by the authorities to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Eighty-seven per cent of respondents in this category support the measures. This is virtually in line with the overall average of all respondents, that is those that receive wages and salaries and those that do not, which stands at 90 per cent.

This category is as resonant as the other categories with regard to the economy’s ability to recover to levels similar or better than those just prior to the lockdown. Sixty-two per cent, which is on par with the overall average, believed that the economy will not improve to levels similar to or better than those just prior to the lockdown.

The greatest diversion is with regard to this category’s opinion related to their own future. Whilst the overall percentage of all respondents stands at 64 per cent, in this particular category it stands at only 57 per cent. They are thus significantly less optimistic about their own future, as opposed to those continuing to receive their salary or wages during the lockdown.

3. RECOMMENDATIONS 

RECOMMENDATION 1

Whilst the data suggests continued high support levels for the ANC, there is a meaningful percentage of supporters whose views have not remained the same or improved. The ANC will have to design strategies and tactics to address the phenomena. It is important to note, however, that declined support does not equate to no support for the ANC. Respondents may have expressed a declined level of support but may very well still support the ANC in an election.

RECOMMENDATION 2

Access to food, be it whether the respondents continue to receive their salaries and wages during the lockdown or not, is a significant problem. The ANC should monitor the situation carefully, as the data suggests that the category of respondents that are experiencing problems with regard to accessing food may be fickler than the others. A sustained momentum of this nature could potentially impact future support for the ANC and the measures taken by the authorities to combat the coronavirus negatively.

RECOMMENDATION 3

Even though the data at the disposal of the institute is not expansive enough to make a conclusive determination, there is a suggestion that respondents that need to access state grants and or aid, are finding it difficult to do so. Whether this is perception or real is unknown. Nevertheless, it would serve the movement well in terms of retaining support, for the authorities to evaluate their current application processes and performance.

This Report has been published by the Inclusive Society Institute.

The Inclusive Society Institute (ISI) is an autonomous and independent institution that functions separately from any other entity. It is founded for the purpose of supporting and further deepening multi-party democracy.

The ISI’s work is motivated by its desire to achieve non-racialism, non-sexism, social justice and cohesion, economic development and equality in South Africa, through a value system that embodies the social and national democratic principles associated with a developmental state. It recognises that a well-functioning democracy requires well-functioning political formations that are suitably equipped and capacitated. It further acknowledges that South Africa is inextricably linked to the ever transforming and interdependent global world, which necessitates international and multilateral cooperation. As such, the ISI also seeks to achieve its ideals at a global level through cooperation with like-minded parties and organs of civil society who share its basic values.

Whilst the institute undertakes research through the lens of social and national democratic values and principles, it is pragmatic, not dogmatic, in its approach.

www.inclusivesociety.org.za