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Torched by power cuts, the middle class will load shed the ANC in 2024 – survey

Torched by power cuts, the middle class will load shed the ANC in 2024 – survey
(Photo: Leon Sadiki / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The first extensive survey of the impacts of rolling blackouts shows the effects they are having on your mental health, economic wellbeing and politics.

Just over eight in 10 people who responded to a nationally representative survey of middle-class homes are despondent about South Africa’s future.

And nine in 10 laid the blame squarely at the door of “corruption and criminality”, according to the SA Blackout Report by BrandMapp-Silverstone released this week.

Government incompetence, cadre deployment and a lack of political will follow closely as reasons ticked by respondents. Half of the almost 1,500 respondents said they think load shedding will never end. 

power middle class

Six in 10 respondents said they were not voting for the ANC in 2024.

This is important because it is the first test of political intentions related to load shedding. The ANC’s leadership is drawn from the black middle class and the party has long worried about losing this rump of support.

The survey shows that the trend – first noted in the 2021 local government poll when the party lost majority control of most cities – has intensified.

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It is a sample of only middle-class and top end (or income tax-paying) voters. Fully representative political opinion samples have put the ANC vote at between 40% and 51%, but this was before the intensity of power cuts grew.

Blackouts are taking a scythe to incomes, productivity and the safety of a representative sample of South Africa’s top 30% of the societal triangle, or adults in households with income above R10,000.

This is the golden mean of society; those people who do not depend on the state and fund the fiscus. In South Africa, about 13 million people fit the category.

The BrandMapp survey published this week says that lower-income consumers have lost jobs and incomes, while higher-income consumers are losing productivity, opportunities and small businesses.

power middle class

Brandmapp’s Brandon de Kock was surprised that 61% of those surveyed still relied on candles for light when the power went out. At the same time, equal numbers (nine percent) had invested in an inverter with either battery or solar-generated power.

“We’ve been forced back 100 years. When candle power is the best solution, you have to know there’s a problem,” say the researchers.

What is clear is that the cost of solar installations means it is a solution for only about three percent of the sample.

Households can mostly absorb R5,000 on solutions, while 20% of wealthy homes have thrown more than R30,000 at the problem.

But 39% of households planned to investigate solar with inverter options, adding oomph to a sector that has become high-demand with long waiting lists.

“… 79% of respondents are planning to spend money to fight blackouts – and about half of them can spend more than R15,000 doing so.”  DM

You can find the report here.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Peter Doble says:

    What is most disconcerting is the absolute lack of urgency by the government to act – in any way – to resolve the problem. It’s almost frozen in an inert state of denial, failing to act cohesively to find short term solutions or even contemplate longer term alternatives. This is not government, it is a political movement without a clue!

  • Dee Bee says:

    I really hope that South Africans give the ANC a complete stuffing next year – a decisive one, where they have no chance of being part of a coalition governing key provinces like Gauteng, WC and possibly even KZN, with a bit of luck. Eastern and Northern Cape? It would be brilliant! However, the opposition parties that represent the more sober policy options (so nothing remotely to the left of the ANC) really need to get their act together, get egos and personality clashes out of the way, and form an umbrella organisation to contest the elections. Employ tactical voting to ensure votes are not split in marginal constituencies and boot the useless ANC into touch. We need a generation of no ANC/EFF/ATM/PA/other lunatic left parties in power in our country and we need it now.

  • Mpumi Bikitsha says:

    Then on top of all this misery, a political party decides on extending this suffering by a ‘national shutdown’ and there’s no word from government. Not yet Uhuru!

  • Cally Heal says:

    What concerns me is that the ANC will turn to the EFF to create a coalition to gain extra voters, and then we’ll have further even weightier problems to deal with. None of them can be trusted. A frightening scenario.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    So, you’re saying that the frog has realized that the water is getting too hot? Sorry, I don’t believe it.

    Sadly there is no cure for frog stupidity.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Love them or hate them, there simply is no other viable option. If you have even a single brain cell you will vote DA in 2024.

  • Ellis Mortimer says:

    The survey should have included a much broader cross section of the populace. The ANC’s biggest support base comes from the gullible millions who receive government subsidies and who are not affected by black outs, as the same ANC has never provided them with electricity

  • William Stucke says:

    @Mpumi Bikitsha
    You are quite right. Pure opportunism by the EFF, who have no solutions, just grand standing.

  • Confucious Says says:

    The best thing that we have is a free press to spread the facts. How the anc must hate that! Well done DM! Keep informing people of the actual facts!

  • Hermann Funk says:

    This survey teaches some important lessons, two of which are:
    a) The middle class has an obligation to dialogue with the poorer people of this country to make them realise that we are in this together and that their misery will deepen further if they continue voting for the ANC.
    b) John Steenhuisen to show political astuteness and allow Mpho Phalatse to lead the DA. His duty should be to give her all support so that she can focus on attracting voters who may otherwise not vote for the DA.

  • Shirley Gobey says:

    This survey needs to be done in the rural areas where the ANC are still revered. It will be interesting to see the results.

  • Claire Klostermann says:

    The problem with a survey that only covers middle class taxpayers, is that they don’t represent even a quarter of the population. It would be interesting to know what we can realistically expect, as I think a lot of us are pinning our last hopes on the next elections.

  • Colleen Dardagan says:

    I wonder then, will that 62% not vote at all, or will they vote for an alternative? I guess old Julius is just standing by waiting for his time to shine!

  • Dragon Slayer says:

    The civil service deployed by the ANC is not only utterly incompetent they are stealing for themselves at a rate that makes your eyes water. Getting rid of the ANC as the governing party may happen in 2024. Getting rid of the termites in the civil service will take a lot longer, especially given that the unions and labour laws are more focused on defending the indefensible. The 80% are certainly giving the 20% of committed civil servants a bad name! Three word that will save South Africa – YOU ARE FIRED!!!!

  • Chris Marshall says:

    No one addresses the real problem which is that government at all levels is far to BIG. In his inaugural address, Ronald Reagan said “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” It is time to starve the beast and bring politicians and public sector unions down to earth. The DA tripled the Cape Town budget in the last decade, so lets see if the can halve it in the next decade. As long as the trough is full there twill be pigs lining up to feed.

  • Edwin Blake says:

    The ANC has stolen everything in this country. Why do people believe that they will not simply steal the election? By that I do not mean tricks like temporarily getting rid of load shedding for a few months but actual ballot rigging.

    The most urgent task we face is surely to ensure that such actions will be very hard. I hope that better informed people can produce plans to stop such theft. I see that one strategy other dishonest elections share is to delay vote counting long enough to get rid of monitors or open polling stations late and hope that opportunities emerge in the chaos. Another is to proclaim strong policies but ignore them on the day and then none the less proclaim elections free and fair. The losers then have to have gathered enough evidence to challenge this in the courts.

  • Barbwire Rich says:

    Of concern if we do have a DA coalition in government after the next elections, would be a sabotage backlash by an ANC/EFF coalition in an attempt to discredit the new government. A frightening prospect.

  • P B M .. says:

    Big worry Dee Bee is will we have a Donald Trump scenario where Ramaphosa and his ANC refutes the result should they lose the election and insist that the election was rigged/not free and fair etc etc??

  • Mohammed Tikly says:

    We are doomed! It will take miracle for us to get back on our feet. For the young who can afford it, it’s time to move on!

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    The shifting political ground perhaps revolves around the ANC as a party in power and it excludes the forces behind the shifting ground and only cites electricity only not water and sanitation and the collapse of PRASA as the affordable public transport for the poor. The other issues include the floods and the hangover of the Covid lockdown that threw a lot of people out of jobs.
    The article leaves an important part of any analysis that is why would the ruling party in these elections face a challenge with the shifting political ground and forces behind it. It fails to point out there are new political parties that would be contesting national elections for the first time that includes ActionSA, the Patriotic Alliance, Bosa and the Rivonia Circle that would be attractive to the middle class. The other issue is the resurgence of the IFP in KZN and is going to be a big factor in KZN. The situation in the ANC is also getting people who left their parties to return to them. However, the three parties that will bring the ANC below 50 percent and even 40 percent are the Rivonia Circle movement that will attract a lot of the middle class and possibly the poor in Songezo Zibi Region of OR Tambo that would extend to Buffalo City. The second would be ActionSA that would continue to grow in Gauteng and would be decisive in Northwest. The third party that would hurt both the DA and the ANC is the Patriotic Alliance with its permanent minorities approach of organising the Coloured vote.

  • Michael Pryke says:

    It is naive to believe that dethroning an entrenched political party will change the prevailing culture of African leadership.

    The history of despotic, corrupt and inept leadership in Africa spans several centuries. That it exists in other countries around the globe is evident, but in Africa it has become regarded as a status symbol and the expected behavior of any person who is afforded a modicum of power. Indeed, the many who admire and revere such people, wait patiently in anticipation for their time to gorge. The last thing they want is for this culture of entitlement to be derailed by the altruistic intentions of another political party.

    The ludicrous litany of mismanagement and abuse within state-owned entities, provincial administrations, municipalities and the trainloads of associated organisations, through the condoned capture by comrades, cadres and cartels – further supported by those up the food chain – is symptomatic of the avaricious greed of individuals who are encouraged to plunder whilst the rest of the nation suffers silently in the shadows … or total darkness!

    The surveys highlight the dissatisfaction of a small segment of the community, but this will not change the long-embedded culture of self-enrichment that shall endure for centuries to come. The gluttony must continue whilst the bottomless trough offers its irresistible bounty. Eat faster comrades – time is short … for tomorrow it’s someone else’s turn!

    Viva Africa!

  • Bruce MacDonald says:

    I gave Cyril the benefit of the doubt last time. Not this time, pal!

  • Fernando Moreira says:

    Vote DA !!

  • Jenny Shields says:

    Check with your friends who have so much to say about the situation. Check how many have registered, how many bother to vote, how many check vital date for voting before swanning off on a holiday trip! It has shocked me and brings out the militant in me!

  • What is the purpose of appointing a Civil Engineer to manage an Electrical power supplier? It is much like an orthopedic surgeon to do a brain surgery.

  • Johan Buys says:

    Sad state of affairs. If the system allowed for it : what would a voter be willing to sell their vote for?

    It would make a fascinating study.

    I think for a million runts I could buy 4000 votes? Ten billion runts buys our country’s government. Not a bad investment if you can extract R1b a month just from Eskom.

  • Roelf Pretorius says:

    Hermann Funk, I agree with you. I really hope that Mpho Phalatse will win. And the middle class have the information and insight, so they can play that role.

  • Christopher Lang says:

    All the statistics and predictions are a total waste of time for everybody involved, including me, the reader. Seldon, if ever, do the authors of these articles revisit their predictions a year or so down the line to compare what was said and what actually transpired!
    The fact is, this country has been taken over by a largely dishonest, avaricious bunch of cronies who have plundered our resources and mismanaged government to the point where it is totally dysfunctional and is going downhill, fast!
    The power of life and death is in the hands people who have the mental capacity of fourteen-year-old school children. Every decision they make has personal implications. This is not a wild statement. We see, read and hear about it every single day of our lives! All the diverse tribes and cultures in this country all have their own sets of values. Unfortunately, government’s values are self-enrichment first, enriching connected people and organisations second and then spreading crumbs and propaganda to uplift the people!
    This government and its massive tribe of political buddies and supporters have plundered this country, and it’s continuing unabated. The people in authority just cannot see that there are rules for any game, and the rule book got thrown out long ago with Zuma and his bunch of reprobates! The end game is chaos and a country something like what Zimbabwe has descended into.
    Integrity and honesty levels are non-existent. It’s really a numbers game!

  • Ian Callender-Easby says:

    Thanks Ferial. Let’s all live in hope that ‘24 brings an end to this nightmare.

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