May 12th, 2014
I usually stick to public policy
wonkery, leaving political analysis to those more interested in “political analysis” than I. The election results in Johannesburg are however very surprising, and I have been grappling to understand the results. The analysis on Johannesburg election results have however focussed on understanding the impact of issues such as Nkandla, e-Tolls, service delivery protests and other issues. No doubt, each of these issues matter. However, we may better explain the Johannesburg results by focussing on demographics and data. The purpose of this post is not to provide a definitive answer on why Johannesburg votes the way it does, but rather to indicate the importance of understanding the relationship between demographics and election results. The example taken is the correlation between unemployment rates and voting outcomes for the 2014 elections.
Take Away: Correlation between voting patterns and unemployment
A striking correlation is how closely unemployment rates in each ward, match election results. The Democratic Alliance wins wards with higher levels of employment, and the African National Congress wins wards with higher levels of unemployment. Importantly, correlation is not causation.
Elections Map: Dusty “Green” Streets vs. Leafy “Blue” Suburbs
The first map uses 2014 elections results and is drawn from News 24 elections app.
The map shows a picture of Johannesburg as a divided city. The picture of a divide between the north and south of Johannesburg is something any Johannesburg resident experiences. Well, at least those of us that travel around the city. It is still amazing how many people (and political parties) from the “South” remain in the “South”, and how many in the “North” remain in the “North” The election results as shown in the map is however very surprising, as I would not have expected the results to align so closely to the spatial shorthand of “dusty streets in the South” and “leafy suburbs in the North”.
Unemployment Map: Unemployed South vs Employed North
The election results in Johannesburg piqued my interest. Could it really be that the election results were following demographic patterns? The wonderful innovation that are data applications allows for some quick and dirty (but plausible) reflections. Statistics South Africa provides map data based on the Census 2011. The only readily available map (related to income) was on unemployment. The map is reproduced below.
The map is a little difficult to read due to the colour scheme. The darker the area on the map the higher the rate of unemployment. The important thing to notice is that there is a significant overlap
- between higher levels of employment and wards won by the Democratic Alliance.
- between higher levels of unemployment and wards won by the African National Congress.
Does this explain the results?
The correlation between unemployment and voting preferences is just one tiny part in understanding the results. The intent here is not to explain the results, but rather to nudge other analysts (who do more election analysis than I will do) to begin looking at the relationships between election results and available data more closely. This would get us closer to understanding why people voted the way they did in Johannesburg, and in Gauteng.
October 30th, 2013
In the run-up to the 3rd Biennial Labour Relations Conference for the public service, I needed to describe the core issue – creating an environment for innovative and “transformative” bargaining.
Elegant Dancing Hippos
My younger son loves watching “My Animal Family” and started laughing, when the narrator said “Even a Hippo can dance elegantly in water”. Later he would turn it into a riddle. “How does a hippo dance nicely”, he asked. The answer is you guessed it, in water – in an environment suited to its size. My older son, just says the unions must protest!
I had found my theme for the presentation.
Zapreneur is an experiment on using the Internet to support small business in South Africa. This project has been running since February 2011, and consistently evolving
I am the founder at Zapreneur. It has been through several iterations, and is constantly evolving. Zapreneur now focuses on public policy questions facing entrepreneurs.
Where can I find this?
Zapreneur can be found at http://zapreneur.com.
One of my coolest work assignments is marking essays for the Old Mutual/Nedbank Budget Speech Competition. I serve as a member of the filter panel, and it is enlightening to read the essays of young economists and public policy analysts.
I help formulate questions, and mark essays. I also get to learn what young intellectuals are thinking.
Where can I find this?
The Institute of Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) commissioned papers for its 2010 and 2011 editions of the Transformation Audit.
- “The traps of poverty and the politics of redistribution” is included in Vision or Vacuum? 2010 Transformation Audit
- Reinvent to remain relevant: The challenge for unions as the voice of the working class, is included in Transformation Audit 2011: From Inequality to Inclusive Growth.
Research and writing articles
Where can I get this?
The Ministerial Advisory Committee on Small Business commissioned me to undertake a review of budgets and other instruments (e.g. venture capital, procurement) available to support small business in South Africa. I worked closely with the committee to identify areas of research, construct a database of line items and develop recommendations.
I provided an analysis of each national department, overall provincial budgets and integrated development plans for metropolitan councils.
I was commissioned by NALEDI to prepare a research report on “Targeted Investments” for the Financial Sector Charter Council. The research process involved coordinating the work of six researchers, and writing the final report. The report covered small business, cooperatives, and transformational infrastructure. My Role The report required me to analyse the small business survey developed by the Finmark Trust. Moreover, I worked with six researchers and provided management and coordination support to deliver the project within budget, on time and to the relevant quality. The final report provided interesting findings on the future role of financial institutions in supporting economic inclusion.
The Second Economy Strategy Project was run by the TIPS. I played a role in managing a research selection process, and participated in drafting of overview report [PDF Link] for the Presidential 15 Year Review Project. This report was co-authored with Kate Philip.
The report which I co-authored remains an important account of inequality in South Africa. My role was to prepare short policy memorandums based on existing government policies and monitoring reports. The exciting part of the project was conceptualising the idea of the second economy and its relationship to inequality.
During the Public Service Summit (2010) I played a coordinating and advisory role. My role was to:
- Coordinating the work of six working groups;
- Drafting the Summit resolution, with social partners; and
- Provide research support to social partners.
In this role, I worked with stakeholders to prepare reports and participated in the facilitation process. This project is also the first in which I used online project management and collaboration software, which worked exceptionally well.
Where can I get this?
The work resulted in agreement signed by the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council. The summit agreement [PDF Link] provides an important agreement to transform the South African public service. .
April 7th, 2011
Every so often, while on the way to the office, I would stop at the department of education’s district office, which covers Lenasia, Soweto and surrounds to ask the assembled workers why they were protesting. I would quiz the workers about their demands. To be clear, there are times when ‘wild cat’ strikes are needed and obviously there were deeper issues under the surface that needed to be addressed. However, I always left with a deep sense of disappointment that the children were being failed.