SA disgruntled: study

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A new survey shows dissatisfaction with service delivery has increased among South African households since 2002 even though the number of people on welfare has more than tripled to 13,7% of the population.

Business Day reports that hunger edged up last year after falling steadily since 2002, while travel by local households dipped — a trend which appeared to stem from the economy`s downturn.

Alarmingly, the fraction of households with missing children nearly doubled to 8,4% last year from 4,5% in 2002, the General Household Survey from Statistics SA (Stats SA) showed.

Hunger has subsided since 2002, dipping to 2,4% from 6,8% of adults and to 2,5% from 6,8% of children. But last year it edged up from 2% of adults and 2,5% of children in 2007.

“What we can say is that provision of services doesn`t translate into quality,” said Kefiloe Masiteng, deputy director-general for population and social statistics at Stats SA. “It`s about perceptions.”

Access to electricity, water and refuse removal have all improved since 2002. But the proportion of households that received a piped water supply dipped to 70,9% last year from 71,8% in 2007.

The proportion of households which felt the quality of water service was good dived to 60,5%, from 71,8% in 2007 and 76,1% in 2005.

Electricity supply reached 82,6% of households last year, well up from 77,4% in 2002. Refuse removal edged up to 60,5% from 58,8%.

The percentage of households in informal dwellings was little changed at 13,4%, although those receiving a government housing subsidy leapt to 11,2% from 5,6%. House ownership also climbed, to 75,8% from 70,4%.

Other data showed the extent of modernisation among the 31636 households surveyed in July last year.

Cellphone use more than doubled to 79,1%, from 37,6% in 2002, while television ownership jumped to 72,4% from 59,3%. On the education front, the percentage of people with no schooling fell to 8,8% from 10,4%.

Figures on medical aid coverage deteriorated, with 15,9% of households covered, versus 16,2% in 2002, but up from a low of 14% in 2005.

The proportion of people ill or injured in June rose to 13,7% from 11,1% last year — close to the 11,3% level in June 2002. But fewer people consulted a health worker, with 77,7% doing so last year compared with 79,7% in 2007 and 81,5% in 2002.

The survey showed satisfaction with healthcare services improved.

The figures also showed that half of all local households went on a trip in 2007, well up from 35% in 2002. But last year the ratio fell to 44,7%.



Pic: President Jacob Zuma of South Africa