According to a study conducted by South African marketing research firm Acentric – completed in December 2009 – only 21% of the public in the United Kingdom feel South Africa has a good reputation overall, relative to other developing countries.
The image of the SA government is particularly poor, with 10% feeling SA had a strong democracy relative to other developing countries and only 11% believing that the SA government was trustworthy.
The poor perceptions of SA’s governance, could plausibly explain the low interest in investing in SA securities. In total 10% felt they were likely to invest in an SA company’s shares (assuming returns better than what they could get from a UK company), while only 4% would invest in SA government bonds – even if they offered better returns than those offered by the UK government.
South African immigrants fared no better, with only 9% feeling that SA immigrants made a positive contribution to the UK overall. In particular, SA immigrants influence on the economy was viewed in a negative light.
In terms of SA’s living standards, opinions differed depending on which aspect was the focus. In terms of crime, only 3% felt SA had low crime levels relative to other developing nations. On the positive side, 27% felt that SA had living standards in certain regions which could equal countries in the European Union, 29% felt that SA would do a good job hosting the Soccer World Cup and 29% agreed strongly that they would go on holiday to SA if the holiday package ‘was good value for money’. Interestingly, 7% of those surveyed reported having close colleagues, friends or family living in SA.
In total 256 individuals were surveyed within England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. The results have a margin of error of 4.6% (at a 95% confidence level) and are weighted to ensure demographic representation of the UK population.