Only 3% of South Africans consider racism a serious problem: IRR

An Institute of Race Relations report released Tuesday (7 February) details how racial issues compare to other major concerns in South Africa – such as unemployment, poor service delivery, inadequate housing, crime and poor education.

The report found that only 3% of South Africans see racism as a serious unresolved problem in the country. In comparison, 40% cited unemployment as a serious issue, while poor service delivery (34%) and inadequate housing (18%) rounded up the top three biggest worries.

Of the 2,291 respondents, surveyed through one-on-one interviews, 72% reported no personal experience of racism in their daily lives. In addition, 84% of those surveyed agreed that different races need one another, and that there should be full opportunities for people of all colours.

In a separate report out this week, the IRR also highlighted the massive transformation at senior management levels in the country.

The group’s data showed that the proportion of top managers who are black has increased from 12.7% in 2000 to 27.6% in 2015 – or by 117.3% overall. The proportion of senior managers who are black has increased to 38.8% in 2015, the group said.

“If transformation is said to be ‘held back’‚ that would be primarily because of failures in education and not a lack of will‚”said the IRR’s chief operating officer‚ Gwen Ngwenya.

She noted that while black South Africans accounted for 80.7% of the population‚ they constituted only 51.4% of all people with a post-matric qualification.

“Putting in place targets beyond the available pool of skills places an unrealisable goal for employers and will strangle South Africa’s economic growth rate,” she said.


Read: The one metric we should use to measure racial transformation in the workplace in South Africa

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Only 3% of South Africans consider racism a serious problem: IRR