Edelman Trust Barometer: SA Government The Least Trusted Across The Globe


Trust is declining among the general South African population and the South African government compared to other governments across the globe, is the least trusted by its people, claims the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer.

BuzzSouthAfrica learnt that Edelman since 2001, has been measuring trust in four institutions which include government, business, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the media.

Since 2014, South Africa has been included in the survey every year.

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The Trust Barometer highlighted that trust decline in South Africa is paramount in institutions of government, media and business.

It was also, asserted that an above-average levels of fears about corruption, immigration and the erosion of social values are having an impact on the way South Africans perceive their country.

“South African government is least trusted by its people, with only 15 percent of citizens affirming their trust in government…

“This lack of faith in the system, combined with deep societal fears, explains the rise of populist movements such as #FeesMustFall, service delivery protests and populist candidates such as the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema…,” Jordan Rittenberry the managing director of Edelman South Africa opined.

The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer survey discovered that trust in the South African government declined from an already low 16 percent in 2016 to 15 percent in 2017.

Among the 28 countries surveyed, the South African government emerged the least trusted. Also, it was exposed that trust in South Africa, declined with 56 percent of respondents trusting in business and 39 percent trusting the media.

SA NGOs emerged the only stable sector. It retained its 58 percent trust level.

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More-so, the Barometer identified that employees in South Africa are more trusted than CEOs to comment on financial earnings, business practice, treatment of employees and customers, and innovation efforts.

CEO credibility in the country dwindled last year’s 68 percent to 52 percent. Rittenberry said the drop in CEO credibility “means that CEOs are on the brink of distrust, as a score below 50 percent is deemed to be generally distrustful.”

Trust in SA media also dwindled from a previous 45 percent to 39 percent. For traditional media, trust dropped from 2016’s 60 percent to 56 percent.

Here, Rittenberry remarked that “…it’s concerning to note that there was an increase in trust in search engines from 66 percent in 2016 to 69 percent in 2017.

“This means that South Africans would rather search for news on Google than on accredited news websites,” added the managing director.

Generally, trust in the institutions of business, media, government and NGOs dropped in 2017. While the media is at all-time lows, government trust continues to nose-dive. And, two-thirds of the surveyed countries are now “distrusters,” with under 50% trust.

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