Bust of Julius Caesar, the infamous Roman dictator – Photo: Flickr /

Shock survey finds MOST South Africans ‘open to a dictatorship’

The ANC has absolutely broken the general public, it seems – and an alarmingly high amount of people see a ‘constructive dictatorship’ as a better option.


Bust of Julius Caesar, the infamous Roman dictator – Photo: Flickr /

In what may come as a surprise for a nation that fought decades to earn democracy, most South Africans would be willing to live under the terms of a ‘dictatorship’ – as long as it could provide jobs and reduce the crime rate.

South Africans ‘willing’ to back a dictatorship – under certain conditions

The study, carried out by Afrobarometer, confronts a very dark proposal: If several societal problems could be eased, would it be worth giving up our rights to vote? Well, almost TWO THIRDS of the public believe this would be a sacrifice worth making – and it’s a belief that is getting stronger amongst the general population:

“South Africans’ low levels of trust in public institutions signal a weakening of democratic norms. Over two decades of democracy, poverty, unemployment, inequality, and crime have remained prominent problems as the promise of South Africa’s democracy has yet to introduce substantial material improvements for the majority of people.”

“In this context, a growing majority (67%) of South Africans would be willing to forego elections if a non-elected government could provide security, jobs, and housing. The number of people ‘very willing’ has shot up to 46%.”

Who is the most ‘turned-off’ by democracy?

Only 18% of respondents said they were ‘strongly against’ a constructive dictatorship. Meanwhile, a clear age divide emerges when we look at those who believe in the merits of a democracy, even if it’s badly run by the government. The freedom of choice, it seems, means less to those who want a livelier job market and safer streets.

  • The highest support FOR a conditional dictatorship comes from 18 to 35-year-olds (69% – 71%)
  • Those with a decent standard of education are MORE inclined to back a job-providing dictatorship (66% – 71%)
  • Women (70%) are more willing to give up elections than men (63%) are.
  • The most willing group of this political shift is those who have lived in moderate poverty (71%)
  • People aged 65 or over (48%), and those with no formal education (54%), are least likely to back a move away from democracy.

Chart showing the levels of support for a conditional dictatorship – Photo: Afrobarometer