South Africa


If a general election were held tomorrow and turnout was good, the ANC would clear 50% – Inclusive Society Institute

If a general election were held tomorrow and turnout was good, the ANC would clear 50% – Inclusive Society Institute
Ilustrative image | President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sharon Seretlo) | Gallo Images / Daily Maverick / Felix Dlangamandla | Gallo Images / Luba Lesolle | EPA / Nic Bothma | Gallo Images / Fani Mahuntsi | Lehlomelo Toyane | A woman receives a food parcel in Fordsburg during lockdown Level 4 in 2020. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sharon Seretlo) | ANC flags. (Photo: Lehlomelo Toyane)

The EFF is tipped to be kingmaker in the 2024 elections. But if elections were held now, South Africa could see the ANC get a simple majority, albeit a very narrow one, says Inclusive Society Institute.

The Inclusive Society Institute is an independent think-tank sympathetic to the ANC. Executive director Daryl Swanepoel has analysed the latest Ipsos poll numbers and says: “The institute does not share the doomsday scenario. The ANC should hold on to power if an election were to be held tomorrow. If it slips below, they will remain in government as the lead coalition partner.”

The Ipsos poll, reported here, found that the ANC could lose power by 2024 and either end up on the opposition benches or enter a governing coalition. 

But Swanepoel has taken a fine-tooth comb to the numbers. He finds the governing party may be on the skids, but is not yet at the bottom of the slide. He says if you adjust for people who said they would not vote, or were not registered to vote, the party gets in with 49% – assuming its supporters pitch up at voting stations on the day. 


Suppose you make a second adjustment and proportionally distribute the number of undecided respondents to the Ipsos poll? In that case, the potential ANC total nudges over the majority line to 50.76%, says Swanepoel.

But before the governing party breaks out the streamers, he has a cautionary note: “At the national level, voter turnout over the last three elections declined from 77.3% in 2009, to 73.48% in 2014 and to 66.05% in 2019. Therefore, under current circumstances, a high voter turnout scenario should be discarded.”

If voters stay home and watch TV, or have a braai on election day, and there’s a moderate turnout of 60% of eligible voters, the ANC will get between 48% and 50% of the national vote. 

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But as Tim Cohen writes here, polls need to be read with an abundance of caution. Swanepoel agrees.

“Two years [to the 2024 national election] is still a long way down the track and much can change. This scenario is suggested to be the sentiment of the respondents should they vote tomorrow.” 

Swanepoel is a seasoned politician and well placed to analyse the meaning of the polls. 

“It is quite conceivable that a coalition government may have to be formed at the national level and, most likely, in a number of provinces, such as Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. However, considering its support bulk, the prospect of ousting the ANC from national government is highly unlikely,” he said in a note prepared for Daily Maverick.

However, after the 2021 local government elections, the ANC was ousted from several cities and districts, even when it had the highest number of seats, but not a clear majority. In Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni, DA mayors were sworn in only because the EFF chose to abstain from voting for any candidate. 

With a possible EFF and ANC pact taking shape, that could change, as Wednesday’s successful vote of no confidence in the DA’s Joburg Council Speaker Vasco da Gama has shown. 

“In our view, NO (sic) opposition party will be able to form a coalition government without the inclusion or support of the EFF, whose support is currently in the region of 12% to 13%,” says Swanepoel. DM

For details on sample sizes, polling dates and type, see graphics in the text. 


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    If that’s the way the cookie crumbles on the day, then we deserve the government we stupidly vote for. Even though the majority we’re headed in the wrong direction, that we would vote again for more of the same is unbelievable. What is wrong with us? Even Mandela said we should vote ANC out if it doesn’t deliver.

    • Malcolm McManus says:

      Our only hope is that there is a poor turnout of the voters who normally vote for the African National Criminals, and a larger turnout of those who vote for a party with proven leadership competence.

  • Johan Buys says:

    Most voters have not had any exposure to ActionSA. If they can build out their presence they will take a far bigger slice, especially from the ANC’s disillusioned and embarrassed faction.

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    The key word is “if turn out is good” but no percentage or figure is given for the turn out to be good and then the projections are made. Quite very rich. We fully know that there will be no good turn out as people have been disgruntled by the failures of service delivery and more than 10 million eligible voters have not even bothered to vote. So the assumption is a pure thumb suck. What if the unregistered voters decided to register and vote in numbers ? The assumption must provide a statistical figure of the turn out for the projections to be valid that includes the margin of error. We also need a qualitative assessment to accompany the quantitative figures to assist the readers to make sense of the projections. Otherwise the lies that Cyril is more popular than the ANC will continue to be peddled for him to have an ego. He is less popular than even Zuma according to the National and local government elections. The factor of not having a person from KZN in the top six has an impact on the ANC electoral fortunes if you did not know! The destruction of the 1994 edifice and departure from nonracialism by the ANC except in words is a factor. The emergence of permanent minorities with Afrikaner and Coloured mobilisation is a factor. The resignation of the only Indian MEC in KZN after the conference is a factor.

  • Dave Reynell says:

    I see no point in these analyses, irreparable damage has been done to the South African economy.

  • Pet Bug says:

    Here’s hoping that NDZ(!) unseats Ramaphosa in December. Or he implodes and we get Mabuza. Come 2024 voters have smelt a rat and drop the ANC into the twenties.

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