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Skills top SA concerns

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Skills development linked to job creation and skills retention are among the areas that South African citizens are most concerned about – and which they believe the government is not addressing. 

This was one of the findings in the biannual Government Performance Barometer opinion poll conducted by Markinor at the end of last year and released today.
According to the poll, satisfaction with the performance of all levels of government and delivery is on a lower level than the same time last year. The results show dissatisfaction with the state’s performance in all spheres of government.
Within the survery, government’s performance on 23 policy areas was assessed. In general, the results achieved were lower than last year.
At the beginning of 2007 it was reported that there were five “red lights” (performance scores up to 50%); 16 “orange lights” (performance scores from 51%-74%) and two “green lights” (performance scores 75% and above).
In the current report there are 11 red lights and 12 orange lights, but no green lights.
This indicates that South Africans are becoming rather more concerned about all 23 governance and service delivery areas listed in the poll.
The red light areas – those citizens believe require urgent attention – are:
* Stop the brain drain – this scored the worst with 27%, down 17% from last year;
* Create jobs/reduce unemployment – scored 30%, down 9%;
* Reduce the crime rate – a score of 32%, down 8%;
* Right appointments – scored 35%, down 15%;
* Transparency and accountability – scored 37%, down 17%;
* Fighting corruption in government – scored 38%, down 16%;
* Control inflation – scored 38% – down 16%;
* Control the cost of living – scored 39%, down 11%;
* Affirmative action in the civil service – scored 45%, down 18%;
* Narrow the income gap – scored 47%, down 8%; and
* Manage the economy – scored 49%, down 17%.
The orange lights, which people flagged as areas of concern, include: bringing the police closer to the community (52%, down 10%) building houses (53%, down 10%); encouraging international investment (54%, down 17%); access to land (56%, down 13%); ending political violence (57%, down 11%); addressing of HIV/AIDS (58%, down 7%); improving basic health services (59%, down 8%); basic service delivery (62%, down 10%); nation-building (62%, down 8%); addressing eductional needs (63%, down 9%); gender equality (71%, down 8%); and welfare payments (74%, down 11%).
The Markinor survey polled 3 500 respondents, scientifically selected to be representative of South Africa’s adult population and represented all types of communities. Personal face-to-face interviews were conducted by experienced interviewers in the home language of respondents.
The survey was conducted in November 2007, before the ANC’s Polokwane conference – and reflects some of the uncertainty in the country at that time. At the time of the survey, the current electricity supply problems were also not yet common knowledge. The sample error depends on the size of the sample and the response rate, for this study it is between 0,75% and 1,65%.
Questions were asked about the performance of the President, Deputy President and the National Government. Do South Africans think they are doing their jobs very well, fairly well, not really well or not at all well?
Overall, the national government was ranked as doing "very well" or "fairly well" by just 57% of those polled, compared to 64% in November 2006, 71% in 2005 and 72% in 2004. President Thabo Mbeki was rated a doing very or fairly well by 63%, down from 73% a year ago, 78% in November 2005 and 80% in 2004. Deputy-president Phumzile Mlambo-Nqcuka was rated at 46%, down from 49% in November 2006, but up from 43% in 2005.