Quality of life in Gauteng improving

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The results were released on Monday by the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) - a partnership between the University of Johannesburg, Wits University and the Gauteng Provincial Government.

"Gauteng has fared extremely well during the last two years of global economic recession, and overall quality of life has risen very slightly to 6.25 (out of 10) for the province as a whole," Professor David Everatt, Executive Director of the GCRO, said.

"The driver has been government delivery - particularly in meeting basic needs and a perception among respondents that crime levels have dropped - but the scores were pulled down by growing cynicism about politicians, concerns about corruption, unemployment, and on-going psycho-social challenges such as racism, xenophobia, conservative attitudes to gender equality and the like," he added.

Almost 17 000 respondents were involved in the survey.

Quality of life - calculated using 52 variables covering everything from security to headspace, health to employment, values to community participation - showed a small but important increase in the mean (the average score) from 6.24 in 2009 to 6.25 in 2011.

The survey showed that fewer Gauteng residents considered crime to be a major problem in their communities, while concern over drugs and alcohol had been growing.

Everatt noted that when asked about the main problem facing their communities, 35% of respondents said crime. This was a drop from 46% in 2009.

Respondents' sense of safety had also generally increased when compared to 2009.

Worrying, however, was the number of respondents who singled out drugs and alcohol as the main problem facing their communities - this figure jumped from 2% to 7% in two years.

Another positive was that when asked about their main health problem, 28% of respondents said HIV and Aids - which was a decline from the 49% from 2009.

Alcohol went up from the 11% in 2009 to the 16% in 2011, while drugs increased from 8% to 11%.
Housing, as the single biggest perceived problem, decreased from 2009 to 2011 among the respondents.

Responding to the survey, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said that the survey was spot on with regards to safety and security, adding that visible policing was a legacy that had been sustained post the 2010 World Cup.

She said the province would engage with central government and ask that Gauteng be treated as a city region - a "golden egg" that needed to be taken care of.

An important issue was how central government put its resources and attention towards a strategic province like Gauteng, bearing in mind that there was no province as highly urbanised, the premier added.

"In terms of division of revenue, there is nothing that actually speaks to urbanisation but there is more dominance on rural development. We can't have a one size fits all," she said.

She welcomed the survey, saying it would be used to shape the way the province responded to the needs of its people.

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