Blacks, whites don't trust each other - survey

Johannesburg - The level of trust between blacks and whites in South Africa is diminishing year on year, a survey released on Thursday found.

"Seventy three percent of African respondents agreed while 44% of whites also agreed," Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) executive director Professor David Everatt said.

"Black attitudes towards whites are hardening year on year while whites have softened."

The GCRO, a partnership between the University of Johannesburg, the University of the Witwatersrand, the Gauteng government, and the SA Local Government Association, conducted a study with over 25 000 people to gauge satisfaction levels with governance in Gauteng province.

At least 60 respondents per ward were sampled in each metropolitan municipality and 30 per ward in local municipalities.

The number of Africans saying they would never trust whites increased from 68% in 2009 to 73% in 2013. Over the same period, the perception by whites had increased from 40% in 2009 to 44% in 2013.

Coloureds and Indians also agreed - fifty five percent of Indians and 61% of coloureds.

Everatt said the notion was held deeply in the "older" townships. The study found that in those townships, 77% to 100% of the respondents believed that blacks and whites would never trust each other.

Those townships included Mamelodi, Soshanguve, Mabopane in Tshwane, Alexandra, Soweto in Johannesburg, Khutsong in the West Rand, Thokoza, Tsakane and Tembisa on the East Rand, along with Sebokeng in the Vaal.

Everatt said times had changed and so had people's ways of thinking.

"Before whites said they would never trust blacks and blacks were more open minded," he said.

The survey also looked at the roles played by the different race groups in building and benefiting from the resources of the country. Among the issues looked at was the role played by coloured people in building a new South Africa.

Forty five percent of Africans did not believe coloureds were helping while 33% agreed and 22% were neutral.

The number was increased from the 2011 survey which was at 35% disagreeing and 29% being neutral while 36% agreed with the notion.

Coloured respondents agreed. The number increased from the 2011 survey with 68% saying yes. At least 22% said they were not and 10% were neutral.

Whites were at 52% while 22% of them were neutral. Forty eight percent of Indians agreed with 31% being against the notion and 21% being neutral.

"Racial attitudes are a mess in the country," said Everatt.