Accountability Advocates: Infographic, Narrative & Methodology


The sixth group to be unpacked in Brand South Africa’s behavioural group series is the Accountability Advocates. This group’s central feature is their expectations of government, and the belief that it has the potential to deliver services and govern more effectively. Accountability Advocates believe that where government has failed or fared poorly, those responsible should be held accountable.

In sharp contrast to groups such as the Positive Enablers who proactively participate in community activism, Accountability Advocates are reluctant to participate in causes not supported by the government. This means that this group expects a lot from government, believes that it can do better, and calls for accountability. Their sentiment towards government has changed over time. In 2018, Accountability Advocates were known for their criticism towards government, but in 2019 the trust in government increased to 58%, which is slightly below the national average of 60%. The private sector and media enjoy more trust at 68%, compared to trust in the government totalling 58%. Despite the lower support for government than the national average, the increased support noticed in 2019 was based on more positive reflections and outlooks of government performance and capability.

On a more personal level, this group is characterised by their independence and their certainty for what they want. While this group is characterised as active in society, their efforts are calculated and selective. Nonetheless, in 2019, this group expressed more enthusiasm to help others.

This is not the most “Proudly South African” of all the groups seeing as the Independent Humanists, Celebrators of Achievement and the Positive Enablers have a higher portion of those who identify as “Proudly South African.” However, the number of Accountability Advocates who are proudly South African (66%) is seven percent higher than the national average (59%). Their willingness to vote, and their belief in the importance of the electoral/democratic process is underpinned by their faith that a strong democracy can enable and deliver positive change. This strong confidence in elections is in stark contrast with other groups, such as the Proud Democrats, and Activist Supporters, who have much less confidence in elections as a mechanism for accountability and change.

Further, Accountability Advocates group best resembles the post-apartheid “honeymoon period” attitude towards society and politics. In the period of post-apartheid euphoria, under the then President Nelson Mandela, people tended to be optimistic with high hopes and expectations (and confidence) in the ability of the South African government to make positive transformational change tangible. However, as corruption scandals and increasingly negative press on South Africa’s governance capabilities surfaced the “honeymoon period” dissipated, and society is now characterised by a lack of confidence, and increased criticism of the state and government. Nevertheless, this groups still holds on to the vision and the dream that South Africans, and our democracy, can be a successful platform for positive societal transformation. This group believes that the unity displayed by South Africa’s diverse groups in working together will develop into a cohesive rainbow nation.

The national pride of this group rests on South Africa’s history in attaining democracy, and the country’s diversity. They do not have the strongest confidence in institutions and democratic practice. After the Concerned Citizens, Accountability Advocates show the lowest level of trust in political parties at 42%. The strong support of this group for President Cyril Ramaphosa (73%) could explain the increased confidence in government. The demographic profile of this group strongly resembles the national demographic profile, with gender representation matching the national profile of the male and female population groups, making up 48% and 52% respectively. There is, however, a lower than average representation of the black population at 73% when compared to the national average of 79%. Containing slightly higher figures than the national average, Coloured, Indian and White people respectively make up eleven, six and ten percent of this groups size. The 45+ age category presents the biggest age group of the Accountability Advocates, at 36%. The average monthly gross personal income of an Accountability Advocate is R 6985, slightly higher than the national average, and the average monthly gross household income of an Accountability Advocate stands at R 14 531, notably higher than the national average of R12 208.

Behavioural Group Research Methodology

Survey classificationDescription
Research conducted byAfrican Response and MarkData
ConfidentialityRespondent information is kept confidential and in line with ESOMAR Code of Conduct practices
Survey datesThe survey was administered between October and November 2019
Sample sizen = 2 500, a final sample of 2 506 realised
Sample selectionMulti-staged stratified random design using StastSA 2018 mid-year population estimates
Margin of error0.097 at 95% confidence level
Data collection methodologyFace-to-face in-home interviews on Computer Assisted Personal Interviews (CAPI) devices
Weighting of dataWeighted, using RIM weight methodology. Weight efficiency was 87%
ReportingWeighted, percentages are rounded


Brand South Africa’s Research Notes and Research Reports communicate findings from Brand South Africa research and related panel discussions. The Research Notes and Reports are intended to elicit comments, contribute to debate, and inform stakeholders about trends and issues that impact on South Africa’s reputation and overall competitiveness. Views expressed in Research Notes are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of Brand South Africa, or the Government of the Republic of South Africa. Every precaution is taken to ensure the accuracy of information. However, Brand South Africa shall not be liable to any person for inaccurate information or opinions contained herein.

Contact: Dr. Petrus de Kock, Brand South Africa, General Manager – Research
Tel: +27 11 –712 5000