The Uncritical Loyalists: Infographic, Narrative & Methodology


We continue our interrogation of South Africa’s behaviour groups with a description of the Uncritical Loyalists. Unlike the Independent Humanists and the Concerned Citizens, this group boldly supports South African political institutions, and government. Their confidence in government institutions is evident through their collective support of the Office of the Public Protector, the judiciary, the quality of the education system, and their confidence in the police’s ability to maintain law and order.

Uncritical Loyalists formerly blindly supported government, but between 2017 and 2018 this group’s support for government and state institutions waned. This is, however, a notable trend across society during that period given serious revelations of corruption and unethical behaviour in the public sector. Nevertheless, their support for government was to some extent restored in 2019. Further, with only one percent of this group choosing not to vote, this group expresses their national pride through political participation (e.g. voting) which is a unique defining feature of this group.

Support for President Cyril Ramaphosa and government institutions is far higher than support for the media, civil society or the private sector. Strong support exists for the African National Congress (ANC) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), but less so for the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). The commitment to political institutions is also strongly expressed in this group’s unwavering support for their political party of choice. Despite the breakdown of support for different parties, there is a high level of confidence in President Cyril Ramaphosa at 80% of the group. The election of President Cyril Ramaphosa as leader of the country coincides with the surge of renewed support for political leadership. Further, The confidence in the President presents a unifying factor among, firstly, individuals with a variety of political persuasions and, secondly, perhaps even among those who are undecided about their political party of choice.

Uncritical Loyalists acknowledge existing challenges the country is faced with, including gender discrimination, inequality and racism. However, this acknowledgment of the country’s challenges is regarded as secondary to their primary respect for and recognition of the primary role the state, public institutions, and generally government plays in society. Although they strongly and, at times, even blindly support the government, there is evidence of active citizenship and in their respective communities through personal commitments made. However, their commitment and support towards political institutions unsurprisingly explains why their levels of activism are regarded as low.

As shown in the infographic, 63% of the Uncritical Loyalists are proud to be South African. The group size has increased in 2019, making up 10% of the population. Geographically, the group enjoys high representation in Gauteng, Kwazulu-Natal, and increasing support in the Eastern Cape and more recently, the Western Cape. Uncritical Loyalists are somewhat evenly represented across areas with varied levels of development, making up 30% of the urban population, 33% of the rural population and 36% of the metro population.

This group is regarded as slightly less affluent, and are slightly less educated than other groups. 76% of this group holds a matric certificate alongside 13% who are in primary/secondary schooling. The strong support for government could also be due to their high dependence on pension grants. Those who do not work consider themselves as “not working” as opposed to being labelled as “unemployed.” For those Uncritical Loyalists who are employed, the average gross personal income comes to R5 757. The financial status of individuals of this group differs from their higher monthly household income of R11 088. The household income tells us that an Uncritical Loyalist enjoys a strong social and/or family support network. Further, 68% of this group feels close to other South Africans.  Uncritical Loyalists are strikingly overrepresented by people in the 45+ age category, comprising of 41% of the group. Women dominate the group’s composition, making up 57% of the group.  Black people make up 81% of the group, followed by Coloured people (10%) and Whites (9%).

Behavioural Group Research Methodology


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Contact: Dr. Petrus de Kock, Brand South Africa, General Manager – Research
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