Government, media and business distrust is at an all-time high, according to a survey conducted by global communications marketing firm Edelman.
Now in its 17th year, South Africa has been participating in the global survey since 2014. Out of 28 countries surveyed this year, South Africa scored the lowest when it came to the people’s trust in the government.
“The survey found that the South African government is least trusted by its people with only 15% of citizens affirming their trust in government,” the survey reported.
The global average was 41%.
Media trust dropped from 45% in 2016 to 39% in 2017, below the global average of 43%. “Interestingly, there was an increase in trust in search engines from 66% in 2016 to 69% in 2017, meaning that South Africans would rather search for news on Google than on accredited news websites,” Edelman said.
Key areas that drive trust in South Africa include integrity, engagement, product quality, business purpose and operations.
Interestingly, non-governmental organisations, which have come to the forefront of news headlines following the Life Esidimeni transfer of patients into their institutions, saw no change in the trust that people have towards them, at 58%.
“While companies might be tempted to run for cover, people continue to ask business to play a leading role in not only delivering profits, but also contributing to improving the economic and social conditions in the community in which it operates,” said Jordan Rittenberry, managing director of Edelman South Africa.
“There is a big opportunity for business to lead by example, and through action with transparency and engagement,” he said.