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In the President we trust, but not the courts

Publish date: 15 April 2019
Issue Number: 819
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: South Africa

Trust in the presidency of Cyril Ramaphosa has emerged as the biggest determining factor in voter preference for the governing party, according to a three-year study conducted by the Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA). A Mail & Guardian report notes while citizen trust in Parliament and the police service have increased since 2017, trust in the country’s courts and the media have declined substantially. Of the 3 431 respondents, most (56%) said the ANC would get their vote in the upcoming national elections, up from 53% in the previous survey conducted between 2014 and 2017. Votes for the DA have decreased significantly from 22% previously to just 13%. The EFF gained 9% of respondents’ votes up from 6% before. ‘Ramaphosa is certainly a game changer,’ said CSDA Professor Leila Patel. She explained that the statistics show that the public has a lot of hope in Ramaphosa. ‘If we compared that (the trust in the Presidency) to former President Jacob Zuma when the trust in the President was very low – 26% compared to trust in Ramaphosa now at 55%.’ CSDA found that trust in other institutions such as Sassa, the police service, and the Department of Social Development have all increased, while trust in the media and the courts have declined. ‘The decline in trust in the rule of law is a concerning issue. Our criminal justice system generically has huge flaws and perhaps people are seeing this,’ Professor Victoria Graham, an associate professor from the department of politics and international relations at the University of Johannesburg, said. ‘It’s really worrying as these are core components of a successful democracy.’

Full Mail & Guardian report