Home News SA angry with Cyril, empty promises, say researchers

SA angry with Cyril, empty promises, say researchers


Cape Town – Anger disgust and fear.

That’s how researchers have categorised South Africans’ emotions as their happiness dropped below the average of 6.85 earlier this year to only 6.44 on Sunday following the announcement of stage 6 load-shedding.

Wellbeing economists Professor Talita Greyling of the University of Johannesburg and Dr Stephanié Rossouw of Auckland University of Technology have developed an indicator that can measure happiness in real-time using sentiment analysis, which is applied to a live feed of Tweets.

The happiness levels are measured using the Gross National Happiness (GNH) today Index.

The economists construct the indices by extracting real-time tweets, encoding them using Natural Language Processing (machine learning methods) and applying a balancing algorithm to derive happiness and eight emotion measures per hour.

The emotions of anger, disgust and fear, increased far above average levels with the announcement of stage 6 load shedding.

The GNH.today Index is at its lowest level since April 2022 and the negative emotions, as seen from the tweets, reflect disappointment, anger and distrust of government officials, and fear of further increases in unemployment and poverty.

“We measure real happiness in countries across the world. We analyse the tweet texts. From South Africa we extract about 150 000 a day.

“People are angry, because they don’t have electricity, they are angry at the government, mad about corruption.

People feel hopeless because there is nothing they can do about it. Twitter gives the data that tells the story very closely related to what we get in surveys and what we see on the ground,” said Greyling.

“We will analyse that and see why people are angry. They are not just angry about load shedding, they are angry about various promises made. People are upset about the exams because the Grade 12 learners are writing prelims and they cannot study, you pick up those tweets. You can pick up the feeling of hopelessness, nothing we can do, there’s stage 6, 7, the country is closing down and we must make peace with it.

Many people worry about employment, because they believe businesses will close down if they don’t have power,” said Greyling.

While President Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledged the electricity crisis needed to be solved, especially following over a trillion rand in commitments from both domestic and foreign investors, the public expressed frustration that the president did not say how it would be addressed.

“People are angry at President Ramaphosa because he said this morning we have to do something, but he didn’t say what,” Greyling explained.

Ramaphosa on Tuesday said he had held an urgent virtual meeting with several ministers and officials to discuss the issue.

“First and foremost, we have to overcome the electricity crisis. Since late last week, Eskom has been forced to implement load shedding due to breakdowns at a number of power stations. The situation has been made worse by the depletion of emergency generation reserves such as pumped storage and diesel turbines and the need for these to be replenished. The severe load shedding of the last few days has reminded us how unstable our ageing power stations are.”


Original Article