More than half (53 percent) of young South Africans think former ANCYL leader Julius Malema is making trouble by addressing striking miners.
These are the findings of a survey conducted by consumer insights company Pondering Panda, who conducted interviews with 3727 respondents aged 15-34, across South Africa.
Although the majority thought Malema was a trouble-maker, 39 percent said they supported him getting involved with the miners at Marikana. 8 percent felt unable to express an opinion.
Support for Malema varied significantly by race group.
While 45 percent of black respondents supported Malema’s involvement with the miners, only 12 percent of whites did. Support for Malema’s efforts was also poor amongst coloured and Indian respondents, with only 17 percent and 9 percent respectively saying they supported his involvement with the miners.
Young men were more likely to be supportive of Malema's efforts (47 percent) than were women (31 percent)
When asked what they thought Malema's motivation was, 62 percent of respondents felt that Malema was just trying to make a name for himself, compared to 34 percent who felt that he cared more about poor people than the government did.
Demographic differences were significant. Young black South Africans were four times more likely (40 percent) than whites (10 percent) to believe that Malema cared more about poor people than the government.
When asked about the government's efforts to solve the problem, 87 percent of respondents said they thought the government should be doing more. There was consensus across all demographic groups, with more than 80 percent of all age, race, and gender groupings agreeing on this point.
“It’s clear that Julius Malema does not have the support of the majority South African youth,” says Shirley Wakefield of Pondering Panda.
“They think his attempt to address the miners is an attempt to gain coverage in the press by being controversial and potentially inflaming the situation.
“What the youth really want to see is more government action in strikes of this nature. We rarely see consensus like this, where a majority of all demographic groups express the same view. This should be a wake-up call for government to take decisive action far sooner when similar situations arise.”
Responses to the survey were weighted to be nationally representative. Pondering Panda conducts more interviews on a daily basis than any other market research company in Africa.
Pondering Panda is a member of the World of Avatar group, which also owns Mxit. All interviews were conducted on cell phones with Mxit users.