After a stressful national election and the coalition negotiations that followed, South Africans breathed a sigh of relief when Ramaphosa announced his cabinet on Sunday night. And that’s a scientific fact. 

According to well-being economist professor Talita Greyling, South Africans became happier right after the cabinet was announced. Greyling, from the University of Johannesburg and fellow well-being economist from Auckland University of Technology, Stephanié Rossouw, have developed a happiness indicator that measures a country’s happiness using sentiment analysis. Sentiment analysis is the process of analysing large volumes of online text generated by citizens to determine whether it expresses a positive sentiment, a negative sentiment or a neutral sentiment. 

Greyling and Rossouw’s model was initially used to measure sentiment in tweets but now includes Google Trends. 

They’ve found that happiness levels in South Africa have been trending upward since the election results were announced, and the index rose from 5.36 to 5.42 out of ten. The team also found that positive emotion words used in South Africa, such as “ ubuntu”, “hope,” “happiness,” and “joy,” had increased.

We have more good news: The government has reported a primary budget surplus for the first time in 15 years, thanks to spending cuts. Well done, Cyril!

However, former DA shadow minister in finance, Dr Dion George, said that the expenditure control measures had not targeted the right areas. “Instead, the enormous top-heavy public wage bill highlights that the ANC government’s priorities lie with high-ranking government officials, not with the hardworking policemen, teachers, nurses, and the soldiers who serve our country. It is them who disproportionately bear the brunt of an ANC-induced cost-of-living crisis as opposed to protected cadres,” he said. Yikes. He doesn’t sound very happy. But maybe now that he is in cabinet (as the new Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries), he can be the first to take a cut to his perks?