The South African Reconciliation Barometer (SARB), the IJR’s nationally representative public opinion survey on issues of social cohesion and governance, has featured prominently in a new report and policy brief published by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) entitled Trust in Government: Evidence Synthesis and International Benchmarking Study.
The report was released on 26 August 2021 and serves as an international benchmarking study on trust in government. Public trust in the state is linked to a variety of governance processes and is considered an essential part of the social contract between citizens and their representatives.
The study included data on public trust from a variety of sources, including the Afrobarometer survey, for which IJR serves as the core partner for southern Africa. The SARB, however, was one of the primary sources of data for the DPME’s report as it allows for cross-sectional analysis of public opinion over several years.
As the oldest public opinion survey of its kind, the SARB provides a long-term source of public opinion data. Moreover, the quality of the SARB data was acknowledged by the DPME’s report, which noted that the global trend for declining trust in government “is better supported by the IJR data” than other sources and that “there is a stronger relationship between trust and GDP per capita based on the IJR data.”
The inclusion of the SARB data in this extensive report from the DPME, based in the Presidency and tasked with overseeing the National Development Plan, is a testament to the credibility and rigour of the SARB survey and is further evidence of IJR’s influence on issues of social cohesion and national policymaking.
Mikhail Moosa, Project leader for the South African Reconciliation Barometer (SARB)