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South Africans back Ramaphosa as lockdown bites

Image: GovernmentZA [CC BY-ND 2.0], via Flickr

Old and affluent more supportive of hard lockdown than young and poor

South Africans are backing government measures against Covid-19, a survey has found, but they are beginning to feel the economic and emotional toll of the country’s hardline lockdown.

The survey is the latest in a slew trying to gauge South Africans’ attitude towards the global pandemic. It was conducted by the University of Johannesburg and the Human Sciences Research Council.

Initial survey results from about 5,500 participants were released on 18 April. Results were weighted according to national demographic profiles, including age and race, to make the results more representative.

Close to three-quarters of respondents backed president Cyril Ramaphosa’s performance during the crisis, despite unpopular restrictions such as banning sales of liquor and cigarettes. However, less than half of respondents supported the lockdown in its current form, with richer and older citizens most supportive of the hard lockdown.

There is evidence that the restrictions are putting a strain on many. Two-thirds of respondents indicated difficulties covering their financial outgoings, while close to a third indicated they are experiencing food shortages. The survey also found increased levels of stress, boredom and fear.

The survey is ongoing.