As the political dust settles following Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s Budget speech, almost two thirds (62%) of South African consumers believe that he will receive very little support from the government in implementing his proposals. This is according to dip-stick research conducted by Interact RDT, the consumer experience research consultancy.
When asked about their perceptions around spending priorities and ability to deliver, respondents rated all of the Minister’s spending priorities as having high importance but their confidence in government’s ability to deliver on these priorities fell below the mid-line.
Making communities safer is perceived to be the most important priority for government spending – 98% of respondents felt this was either an important or very important priority. However 53% of respondents felt that government would not be able to improve the current situation, placing it at the bottom of consumer’s confidence list.
Improving the quality of education was ranked by 97% of respondents as important or very important, making it the second most important priority for consumers. It was also the priority in which respondents were the most confident about the government’s ability to improve the current situation, even though it sat just slightly above the mid-line.
The online survey was conducted on the day following the Budget speech. Respondents were all urban dwellers, predominantly of working age (20 – 49 years) with a monthly household income ranging from R5 000 to R40 000. All participants are part of an online consumer survey panel.
“These results don’t come as a surprise,” says Gary Greenfield, managing director of Interact. “This commentary is part of daily conversation but it’s important for us to have the statistics to support the dialogue.”
This survey will become an annual project for Interact so will track whether consumer perceptions around government spending and delivery are becoming more aligned or not. “Consumer perceptions are important in this case because the President has promised more accountability from his government,” says Greenfield.
The 25c increase in fuel tax is perceived to have the most negative impact on consumers in the short-term with 90% of respondents claiming this will negatively affect their current financial situation. Respondents also believe that this will make the least contribution to long-term economic growth of the country.
An increase in the so-called sin taxes as well as the proposed carbon emission tax on new vehicles is perceived to have very little impact on consumer’s short-term financial situation or the long-term economic benefit of the country.
Consumers also ask Pravin who?
“While it is clear that the government has to improve the perceptions that South African consumers have of it, Treasury may also want to consider embarking on some kind of awareness campaign,” says Greenfield.
36% of respondents claim to have watched the Minister’s Budget speech on TV, listen to it on radio or participate in any form of related media consumption after the Budget speech, but 20% did not know much about the Budget and 6% were not aware of it at all. 37% of respondents did not know the name of the Finance Minister; 33% said they did not know at all while 4% got it wrong.
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