From apartheid to democracy in South Africa : changing attitudes toward institutions, 1981-1995

Van der Nest, Madelein (1999-12)

Thesis (MA) -- University of Stellenbosch, 1999.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study aims to both describe and explain patterns of continuity and change in the South African public's attitudes toward institutions (public and private) from 1981 to 1995. The selected public institutions include the armed force, the police force, legal system, parliament and the civil service. The selected private institutions include churches, the press, labour unions and major companies. Confidence patterns will be compared and comparisons will be made over time as well as between public and private institutions. This study will test the hypothetical assertion that public confidence reflects the changing political atmosphere in South Africa as it has moved from apartheid to a democratic system. The general hypothesis is that those individuals excluded from institutional representation and/or participation during the apartheid era exhibit less confidence toward institutions than individuals who were included in the political system. It would be expected that confidence toward institutions among all population groups in the post-apartheid era will be less polarised given the nature of the new, multi-racial democracy. The focus of this study is the effect of the independent variables (population group, political party preference and time) on confidence toward selected institutions. Data is drawn from three surveys (1981, 1991 and 1995) which form part of the World Values Survey. Confidence toward institutions is compared by contrasting specific periods in South Africa's history: firstly, the levels of confidence toward institutions during the apartheid era (1981) are compared with confidence levels toward institutions at the onset of transition (1991). Secondly, confidence levels toward institutions are compared from the onset of the transition (1991) to the beginning of the pos-tapartheid era (1995). Means, cross-tabulations and factor analysis are employed to analyse and interpret the data. The results suggest that the hypothesis holds true for some groups in society at different times in the period studied, although not for all groups at the same time. During the apartheid era blacks, coloureds and Indians were critical, particularly of public institutions, due to their exclusion from true representation and participation. In the post-apartheid era, confidence among blacks toward public institutions improved remarkably, and also rose toward private institutions from 1981 to 1991, decreasing from 1991 to 1995. Although whites had a significant degree of confidence in public institutions during apartheid, these confidence levels decreased dramatically in the post-apartheid era, with confidence toward private institutions also decreasing in the period studied. Confidence toward public institutions among coloureds remained stable in the same period, and only improved marginally among the Indian population. Confidence toward private institutions among coloureds increased slightly from 1981 to 1991, and decreased from 1991 to 1995. Confidence toward private institutions among Indians improved slightly from 1981 to 1991 and remained stable from 1991 to 1995. Overall, it seems that the South African population in the post-apartheid era is neither fully confident towards nor actively distrustful of either private or public institutions. The findings of this study may be interpreted as a tentative and a discreet warning for the popular standing of institutions in South Africa. The findings of this study should be regarded as tentative and exploratory. Levels of confidence toward institutions may fluctuate sharply over time. This will be true especially until democratic consolidation has been achieved, stabilising confidence to a degree so that fluctuations in public confidence toward both public and private institutions will not be as detrimental to South Africa's nascent democracy as they are at present.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van hierdie studie is om die Suid-Afrikaanse publiek se opinies jeens staatsinrigtings en privaatinstellings vanaf 1981 tot 1995 te beskryf en te verduidelik. Die gekose staatsinrigtings sluit in die weermag, die polisiemag, die regstelsel, die parlement en staatsdepartemente. Die gekose privaatinstellings sluit in kerke, die pers, vakbonde en groot maatskappye. Vertrouenspatrone in staatsinrigtings en privaatinstellings word vergelyk en vergelykings word oor tyd en tussen staatsinrigtings en privaatinstellings gemaak. Hierdie studie sal die hipotese toets dat vertrouenspatrone van die publiek 'n weerspieeIing is van die veranderende politieke atmosfeer in Suid-Afrika soos dit beweeg het van apartheid tot 'n demokratiese stelsel. Die algemene hipotese is dat die individue wat uitgesluit was van verteenwoordiging en/of deelname in instellings gedurende die apartheidsera, minder vertroue in instelling sou gehad het as individue wat ingesluit was in die politieke-sisteem. Die verwagting is dat vertroue in instellings onder aIle groepe in die post-apartheid era minder gepolariseer sal wees as gevolg van die aard van die nuwe, veelrassige demokrasie. Die fokus van hierdie studie is die effek wat die onafhanklike veranderlikes (populasie groep, politieke party voorkeur en tyd) op vertroue in die gekose instellings het. Data is verkry uit drie opnames (1981, 1991 en 1995) wat deel vorm van die World Values Study. Vertroue in instellings word vergelyk deur spesifieke periodes in Suid-Afrika se geskiedenis te kontrasteer. Eerstens, word die vertrouensvlakke in instellings gedurende die apartheidsera (1981) vergelyk met vertrouensvlakke in instellings by die aanvang van die oorgangstydperk. Tweedens, word die vertrouensvlakke in instellings vergelyk vanaf die aanvang van die oorgangsperiode (1991) tot die begin van die post-apartheidsera. Ten einde die data te analiseer en te interpreteer word gemiddelde, oorkruis-tabelle en faktor ontledings gebruik. Die resultate impliseer dat die hipotese bevestig word vir sommige groepe in die samelewing op verskillende tye in die periode wat bestudeer word, maar nie vir alle groepe op dieselfde tyd nie. Tydens die apartheidsera was swartmense, kleurlinge en Indiers krities, oor veral staatsinstellings, a.g.v. die beperkings aan ware verteenwoordiging en deelname. In die post-apartheidsera, het vertroue onder swartmense jeens staatsinstellings merkwaarding verhoog, en ook vir privaatinstellings van 1981 tot 1991, maar het afgeneem van 1991 tot 1995. Alhoewel blankes groot vertroue in staatsinstellings gedurende apartheid openbaar het, het hierdie vertrouensvlakke dramaties afgeneem in die post-apartheidsera, en vertroue in privaatinstellings het ook afgeneem in die periode wat bestudeer word. Vertroue in staatsinstellings onder kleurlinge het onveranderd gebly in dieselfde periode terwyl daar 'n geringe toename onder Indiers plaasgevind het. Vertroue in privaatinstellings onder kleurlinge het effens verhoog van 1981 tot 1991, en het afgeneeem van 1991 tot 1995. Vertroue in privaatinstellings onder Indiers het effens toegeneem van 1981 tot 1991, en het onveranderd gebly van 1991 tot 1995. Oor die algemeen, blyk dit dat die SuidAfrikaanse bevolking in die post-apartheid era nie instellings volledig vertrou nie, maar hulle wantrou hulle ook nie. Die bevindings van hierdie studie moet gemterpreteer word as 'n tentatiewe en diskrete waarskuwing van die populere stand van instellings in Suid-Afrika. Die bevindings van hierdie studie moet beskou word as tentatief en ondersoekend. Vlakke van vertroue in instellings mag skerp wissel oor tyd. Dit sal die geval wees totdat demokratiese konsolidasie bereik is, wat tot 'n mate 'n stabiliserende uitwerking sal he op vertroue sodat wissellinge in publieke vertroue in beide staats-en privaatinstellings nie so nadelig vir Suid-Afrika se ontluikende demokrasie sal wees nie.

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