Large numbers of people - estimated in the region of around 3 million - lost their jobs during 2020 and were added to the growing unemployment figures of the country. In a study conducted by Ipsos, on behalf of the Centre for Social Development in Africa based at the University of Johannesburg, it was found that almost half (46%) of adult South Africans agreed with the statement: “Adults and children in my household often had to go hungry during the Covid-19 pandemic, as we did not have enough money for food.”
Fieldwork was conducted from 19 November 2020 to 30 December 2020, with 3,469 face-to-face interviews of a randomly selected sample of South Africans that are 18 years and older. Interviews were conducted in homes and in-home languages.
The extent of hunger
At the time of fieldwork, more than 40% of South Africans of all age groups were affected by hunger. All population groups were affected, with about half of Indian and Black people suffering from hunger. This is also true for more than four in ten Coloured people and almost three in ten White people in South Africa.
Hunger knows no provincial boundaries and South Africans all over the country were going hungry – but those in KwaZulu-Natal (the second most populous province in South Africa) and the Eastern Cape (one of the poorest provinces) suffered the most:
The scourge of hunger affected similar proportions of working (45%) and non-working (46%) South Africans. This can be seen together with comments about household income and about stress and illnesses suffered by household members.
About six in every ten South Africans (58%) said that “The Covid-19 pandemic has a negative impact on the income of my household” and half (50%) said “People in my household suffer more from stress and other illnesses during the Covid-19 pandemic”.
The Government and Covid-19
Close to six in every ten South Africans (58%) think that President Cyril Ramaphosa did a good job during the Covid-19 pandemic and a similar proportion (56%) give the South African Government credit for their handling of the pandemic.
It is probably no surprise that ANC supporters are more vocal in their support for the president and the government’s handling of the pandemic, but supporters of other political parties largely agree – although not to the same extent.
Interestingly, supporters of all three the biggest political parties are very close in their opinions about the alleged corruption by government officials, with more than half (52%) of South Africans saying that the alleged corruption by government officials during the Covid-19 pandemic made them more negative about the ANC. This notion will have to be tested in forthcoming surveys.
- Fieldwork: 19 November – 30 December 2020
- 3,469 in-home face-to-face (CAPI) interviews. Conducted in preferred home languages of randomly selected respondents
- Countrywide representation
- Results filtered by those 18 years old and older
- Results weighted and projected to the official South African population figures for this universe
- Margin of error for this sample as a whole is a maximum of 0.65 – influenced by sample size, response rate and sampling methodology employed
For more information on this news release, please contact:
Director and Political Analyst, Ipsos in South Africa
Mobile: +27 (0)82 557 5058
Professor Leila Patel
SA Research Chair in Welfare and Social Development, Centre for Social Development, University of Johannesburg
Telephone: +27 (0)11 559 1907
Professor Yolanda Sadie
Emeritus Professor of Politics, University of Johannesburg
Mobile: +27 (0)83 635 4459