The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) now known as ‘Coronavirus Disease 2019’ (COVID-19) has hit the world by storm. Leading the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring the outbreak as a global pandemic.
South Africa also a causality to the deadly pandemic, led President Cyril Ramaphosa to announce a national state of disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act and implemented a nationwide lockdown in March 2020.
The Government, together with various stakeholders, have used the lockdown period to both refine and intensify several measures to manage COVID-19.
Brand South Africa as the custodian of the Nation Brand image and in line with national measures taken to contain the spread of COVID-19 infections, supports Government’s efforts to inform and educate citizens on the virus as well as the precautionary measures implemented.
“The reality is that the pandemic brings with it uncertainty regarding the future. In order to be informed about the responses, perceptions and behaviours of South Africans as the country continues with its robust efforts to contain the spread of COVD-19, Brand South Africa will utilise its surveys- and qualitative research instruments to source insight in order to better serve the national effort- and society through its work”, said Brand South Africa’s General Manager for Research Dr Petrus De Kock speaking on COVID-19.
During the month of April, the domestic perceptions online/mobile survey included a set of statements pertaining to a range of issues surrounding COVID-19. The Domestic Perceptions survey, provides the organisation with a general overview of mind sets and changes among South Africans with regards to their perceptions of the Nation Brand. During a crisis it is imperative to keep track of these perceptions.
Over three hundred respondents were surveyed, these were some of the key findings;
- That respondents take the practice of social distancing seriously – the majority of 73% indicate that they practice it;
- Not only are respondents concerned about the spread of Fake News, but, 65% of respondents strongly support government acting against- and arresting individuals guilty of spreading Fake News;
- A majority of respondents, 60%, are concerned that measures taken to contain the spread of COVID-19 will impact negatively on household income;
- Respondents are concerned that they, as individuals, may run the risk of contracting the virus – 22% feel personally at risk.
Commenting on the survey and some of the key lessons; Dr De Kock said; “While respondents show to be playing their part to curb the spread of COVID-19, there is a need for communication and information on the health system. On the other hand, citizens are convinced that their personal circumstances will not return to normal after the pandemic. But, what will that new reality look like? Due to the business unusual approach the country has had to take to fight COVID-19, we also asked respondents whether they are willing to change the way they engage with other people, government or business in efforts to restore the economy when the local manifestation of the COVID-19 pandemic has been brought under control? A healthy 44% of respondents indicated that they are willing to find new ways to interact. This means that while we are, as a society, still fighting the outbreak, we need to think about new ways of cooperating to grow the economy and mend society post-COVID-19.”
Major issues from the survey findings not only assist in understanding domestic perceptions but also affirms South Africa as resilient and able to withstand a global pandemic. A country that is able to work together for the betterment of its people.
For tracking purposes and to develop a more robust sample, the set of COVID-19 questions will be repeated in at least the next three monthly surveys. For the full view of the Domestic Perceptions Research Programme Monthly Special Report click here.
For more information on COVID 19 in South Africa, visit the following websites
To contribute to the Solidarity Fund visit www.solidarityfund.co.za
To learn more about the Play Your Part pledge visit www.playyourpartsa.co.za