SA’ners risk prediction about new year

Henry

Amidst load shedding, the high crime rate and a struggling economy, most South Africans agree that 2023 was not an essentially good year. A recent survey shows that South Africans are not particularly hopeful that these elements will improve at all in 2024. They are, however, more optimistic about their personal prospects.

The research company infoQuest asked almost 3,000 South Africans across all demographic groups what their expectations are for the new year. This includes their outlook for politics, the economy and job security, the energy crisis, crime, health care, education and all sorts of personal issues.

Expectations for politics

While South Africans await an official date for this year’s provincial and national elections, the majority of citizens’ outlook for politics is extremely negative. More than half of the respondents are convinced that the political situation will only get worse.

Three out of every four South Africans expect corruption to become much worse, while only 16% are hopeful that incidents of corruption will decrease.

Moreover, the older respondents’ expectations are more negative than those of the younger generation.

Economy and job security

The respondents’ expectations for South Africa’s economic health and job security are also not optimistic, especially after the weak economic growth in 2023.

According to infoQuest, 17% of South Africans will have lost their jobs in 2023. Although the unemployment rate has since improved slightly, more than 30% of the population is still unemployed. Experts believe this will only improve with positive economic growth.

However, more than half (56%) of the respondents expect the economy to deteriorate further in 2024, of which half of the 56% are convinced of this.

A total of 54% of respondents believe job security will be negatively affected by the weakened economy. A mere 10% of the respondents are nevertheless convinced that the situation will improve.

Power and water supply

Power has become an overused word in South Africans’ vocabulary. The number of days the country was without power last year almost doubled compared to 2022 and respondents reckon the state of affairs will not improve soon.

More than a third of the respondents expect that the availability of power from Eskom will only deteriorate in the coming year.

Only 7% of respondents believe without a doubt that the situation will improve, and 15% are hopeful that it will improve.

Many parts of the country also experienced water outages during 2023, mainly due to poorly maintained or repaired infrastructure. This led 43% of the respondents to the conclusion that water supply to homes is only going to get worse and worse.

Crime

Violent crime in South Africa remains a problem and a major cause for concern for many citizens.

In 2023, one in three South Africans was a victim of a crime where something valuable was taken from them. This was the case across all income groups. Regarding contact crimes, 11% of victims suffered physical injuries in 2023.

It appears from the latest research that South Africans do not expect the crime situation to improve this year – in fact, 61% expect it to worsen. Only 17% are hopeful that crime will improve, while 8% are convinced that the situation will improve.

South Africans clearly do not have much confidence in law enforcement by the police, causing 51% of respondents to believe that policing will deteriorate this year. Only 30% believe the police will straighten itself out in the new year.

Hope beckons (in some areas)

With the introduction of the National Health Insurance (NHI) hanging over South Africans’ heads, respondents are divided on the state of the healthcare system this year.

A total of 42% of respondents expect the country’s healthcare system to deteriorate in 2024. More older than younger people hold this view.

However, about 40% of respondents believe the situation will improve, and 18% are unsure what will happen.

South Africans also have mixed feelings about the state of the education system in 2024. InfoQuest says it is encouraging that more South Africans believe that the country’s education system will improve in 2024 (46%) than those who believe it will deteriorate ( 37%).

South Africans are quite optimistic that their lifestyles, marriages and free time will improve in 2024, but less so that their finances will keep up with high living costs.

Arnold Samuels, research director at infoQuest, says the results paint a discouraging picture of the country’s biggest issues.

“However, South Africans are resilient and face challenges with determination. They rarely let themselves be overwhelmed and always make the best of any situation,” he says.

“With this foundation, I am convinced that South Africans are ready to successfully navigate the complexities of the year ahead.”