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Pondering Panda

Press release from Pondering Panda
23 October, 2014
Full results available on request

More than 4 in 5 younger South Africans are aware of Ebola – and they’re worried about it

The vast majority of younger South Africans are aware of the Ebola virus, and are worried about the possibility of it spreading to South Africa. This according to consumer insights company Pondering Panda, which recently interviewed 2364 respondents between the ages of 15 and 34, across South Africa. The survey found that 83% of younger people were aware of the Ebola virus, and of this number, 88% were worried that Ebola would reach SA, compared to just 12% who did not believe that would happen. There were no significant differences among age, gender or race groups.

In the event of an Ebola outbreak in South Africa, younger people were divided on whether the South African government would be able to respond appropriately. 56% expressed confidence in the government’s ability to halt the spread of the virus and keep people safe. In comparison, 44% said they did not trust the government to take the necessary measures to stop the spread of the virus.

There were no significant demographic differences for this question, but opinion did differ by province. Respondents in Gauteng were the least likely to have faith in the government’s ability to respond to an outbreak of Ebola. 45% of younger people in the country’s most populous province trusted the government to contain an Ebola outbreak, compared to 58% in KZN and 60% in the Western Cape.

Shirley Eadie, spokesperson for Pondering Panda, said, “The possibility of an Ebola outbreak is a widespread fear among young South Africans. While this is likely the result of the significant media attention devoted to Ebola in recent months, it can have very real consequences. If a case of Ebola were to be diagnosed in SA, fear of the virus could cause unnecessary disruption in affected areas. This fear among young people makes it that much more important for the government and the media to educate the public about how Ebola spreads and be clear about the comparatively small risks to countries like South Africa.”

Interviews were carried out on cellphones between the 12th and the 21st of October, across South Africa, excluding deep rural areas. Responses were weighted to be nationally representative in terms of age, gender and race. Pondering Panda conducts surveys via a variety of digital media, including the Mxit social network and Panel Services Africa’s (PSA) online panel. PSA uses responsive surveys (accessible via mobile phones, computers and tablets) to conduct interviews with their panel and respondents are incentivised for each survey they complete. On Mxit, interviews are conducted through an interactive app on mobile phones. The app is available for both feature phones and smartphones, and is accessible on more than 3000 different mobile handsets. Respondents opt-in to surveys voluntarily and are not incentivised.

For interviews please contact Johan van der Merwe – 021 888 7083 / 078 668 7872