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ROAD TO 2024 ELECTIONS

New poll confirms ANC slide – desperate South Africans want new options

New poll confirms ANC slide – desperate South Africans want new options
The Independent SA National Civic Organisation's Zukile Luyenge, United Independent Movement vice-president Fatima Abdool, Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald, IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa, DA leader John Steenhuisen, the ACDP's Wayne Maxim Thring, ActionSA national chairperson Michael Beaumont and Spectrum Party leader Christopher Claassen at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg, 28 November 2023. (Photo: Facebook / @Our_DA)

A new survey has found that voters’ interest has been piqued by the Multi-Party Charter, an 11-party agreement to form a coalition after the 2024 election. 

The largest poll yet of voter sentiment shows South Africans want to vote in this year’s general election and are looking for options in numbers not seen since 1994.

Like three previous polls, it found that the governing ANC was waning in popularity and would garner only 39% of the votes if the elections were held tomorrow. The national and provincial elections must take place by August. 

The ANC is campaigning for 51% or more and has a powerful election machinery, it said last week. An analysis late last year by the Inclusive Society Institute, an independent think-tank that advises the ANC, gave it 48% of the vote in a medium turnout of voters.  

Voters’ interest has been piqued by the Multi-Party Charter (MPC), an 11-party agreement to form a coalition after the election. 

The latest poll, which interviewed 9,000 people, is a baseline survey by University of the Witwatersrand Professor of Urban Governance David Everatt for Change Starts Now, Roger Jardine’s start-up political movement. 

It found that 61% of those surveyed face to face in a language of their choice had not heard of the MPC, but interest was high among those who had.  

 

A robust 38% of respondents who had heard of it said they would vote for the MPC, which surveyors defined for the people they interviewed. 

“If I’ve heard of it, I want to vote for it,” Everatt said, summarising a key finding. This, he said, was a strong outcome for a new formation. “The idea of all these parties coming together has real appeal,” Everatt said.  

The survey also found that five of SA’s nine provinces could be run by coalition governments after the elections — more than the five major parties have pencilled in.  

The five provinces are Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Western Cape (the DA disagrees) and possibly the Northern Cape. Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal are wide open at this stage.  

Read more in Daily Maverick: Dramatic decline in electoral support of ANC clear from new national poll

A desire to vote  

Eighty percent of those surveyed said they want to vote, but many have yet to register. By Friday, before the registration weekend, 27 million people of a potential voting pool of 43 million had registered.  

“People are desperate for change, but no party is mobilising their imagination,” Everatt said. “No parties are doing as well as they want to.” 

This suggests an outcome that fractures rather than consolidates the political landscape unless the MPC can capture the imagination of voters who want change. 

One in five of those surveyed said politics is a waste of time. 

Those who did not say who they would vote for are not ANC voters, Everatt said. “There is a hunger for something that excludes both the ANC and EFF.”   

Jobs are at the top of the pile of voter priorities by a long shot, followed by the cost of living, crime, poverty and load shedding. The MPC parties only released their economic policy (which includes employment) last week, while the baseline survey was done late last year. 

 

MPC is ‘unlocking enthusiasm’

“Where people know about the MPC, it is unlocking enthusiasm,” said the DA’s head of strategic communications and MP Leon Schreiber. “It gives voters a sense that there is something bigger, [with the] potential to achieve a majority.”  

He questioned the poll’s findings, saying a better way to test MPC support was by adding up the possible support for each of the 11 parties in the pact. Using this tally, he said, the parties would get more than the 32%% they notched up in 2021. 

“I wouldn’t say the job is complete. If more opposition voters register, then we pull the voters’ roll in our [the MPC’s] favour. We are up above 2019 [national and provincial elections] and 2021 [local elections].”  

Schreiber said that the latest survey underestimated support for the DA, while overestimating that for the EFF. The DA’s internal polls, which are done constantly, gave it between 25% and 30% of the vote, DA leader John Steenhuisen told Daily Maverick’s Queenin Masuabi. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: How the Multi-Party Charter could make history at the 2024 polls

ActionSA’s national chairperson, Michael Beaumont, said the MPC would hold eight more national events as the election campaign gathers steam. 

The events would help to build its brand and increase public awareness. The parties had the tricky task of collaborating and competing while presenting as a joint force. 

Everatt criticised the MPC parties for constant bickering, notably between the DA and ActionSA. He said this alienated potential voters. 

While agreeing that the MPC parties should not badmouth one another, Beaumont said differentiation and independence were essential.  

Last week, for example, he lambasted Steenhuisen for calling Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s insta-police “drunkards” with “Pep uniforms” who had been pulled from a shebeen. The statement went down like a lead balloon in race-conscious South Africa. 

ActionSA has a stricter immigration policy than most other parties. Its message to voters is: “If you want immigration at the centre, make us stronger.” 

His modelling showed the MPC parties were heading “squarely for victory”,  Beaumont said. He said ActionSA was growing countrywide and would  surprise people in the Eastern Cape, where former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip is consolidating in Buffalo City and elsewhere. 

Asked if ActionSA would give the role of MPC leader to Jardine if the pact was successful in the election, Beaumont said, “Roger who? You must be joking. We have confidence in the leadership here.”

Beaumont said either ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba or the IFP’s Velenkosini Hlabisa should lead the pact if it succeeded in the elections. 

This final chart shows that both men have work to do on their likeability and name recognition among voters. Jardine has a high mountain to climb if he is to succeed in persuading the MPC leaders that he can rise. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa has a vastly higher positive score than other political leaders. He has consistently polled higher than the ANC.  

  

For more on Jardine’s strategy, see Rebecca Davis’ interview here.  

Baseline survey 2023 details:

  • 9,000 respondents, all SA citizens 18+;
  • The sample was stratified by province, area and race, with secondary stratification by cluster (increased allocation to smaller groups);
  • Face-to-face interviews were conducted in November/December 2023 by 280 enumerators;
  • The survey was weighted to be representative of SA’s adult population; and
  • The simple margin of error for the total sample = <1%.

ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri said the ANC is expecting a decisive victory in South Africa’s 2024 national and provincial general elections.

“Our job of transforming the country and deepening democracy is not complete. We have rolled out a massive programme on voter registration, engaging with all sectors to ensure that our people participate in the democratic process. Our alliance partners and our leagues have supported the voter registration campaign in their numbers and the ANC has engaged with all sectors as part of our programme.

“Over this voter registration weekend, we have had party agents and information tables at every voting station in every region across the country. Our leaders have gone door to door, engaging with citizens, and the response has been generally positive with South Africans interested to hear what the ANC has to say. 

“The NEC at its recent meeting noted the proliferation of small parties wishing to contest the 2024 elections. The NEC views this trend as an attempt to divide the vote. We are confident this strategy will not succeed. 

“Generally, the ANC does not comment or respond to various polls, although the bona fide ones are considered and to some extent inform our strategy.” DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    Hope and pray the anc falls,such corruption has never been experienced in SA history

    • Tumelo Tumelo says:

      Please I implore you, educate yourself- I can’t believe I have to say that; the history of S.A did not begin in 1994. This wilful ignorance causes people like you to type embarrassing things, as you have done.

      • Laetitia Kennedy says:

        Everybody is entitled to their opinion.

      • Penny Philip says:

        Agreed. Corruption under apartheid was better hidden than it is now, because the government heavily censored the press & freedom of speech was non existent.

      • J vN says:

        So, because there was corruption prior to 1994, albeit at a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of the orgy of looting since 1994, it makes you lot’s stealing OK, then?

        Talk about an embarrassing comment….

        • Rainer Thiel says:

          “… tiny, tiny fraction…”
          You are laughably ill-informed. Corruption before the ANC was rampant, has actually been since the van der Stel days. Lord Charles Somerset ran the Cape as his own fiefdom. Rhodes behaved abominably, most decisions as PM in the Cape served his business interests, not the people. And then the Broederbond, morally bankrupt, steeped in corruption
          Have a look at “Rogues Gallery” (Matthew Blackman, Nick Dall).

          • Dee Bee says:

            Yip, Rhodes even tried starting a war or two to further his own interests! Under the Nats there was also the Info Scandal, which was pretty much the template for ANN7 and the rags associated with it, costing in today’s terms around US$300 million! Then there was Robert Smit, allegedly (and brutally) murdered because he was (allegedly) on the brink of revealing large-scale fraud and corruption in government.

            Let’s not even start on the 1913 Land Act and all the apartheid dispossession that followed. This is in no way to excuse the abject scum who’re plundering our country today (including some prominent local and international blue chips), but simply to provide a bit of balance: dig a bit and you’ll find plenty of corruption and malfeasance under the Nats, United Party and British colonial administrations before them. I wonder if anybody has ever calculated the actual cost and lost opportunity cost of apartheid? Must run into trillions in today’s terms.

            For me the bottom line is that we’ve never had decent governments in South Africa that were focused on the rights and welfare of the ordinary citizen.

      • Gerrie Pretorius says:

        At least the ‘corrupt Nats’ left behind a country that actually worked. Eskom, SAA, SABC, etc. The anc has ‘stolen’ that from ‘the people’.

        • Dee Bee says:

          Worked for a small percentage of the population, anyway. And much of what was working and provided taxes was flushed down the toilet of ‘separate development’, monstrous security, ridiculous duplication, regional wars and destabilisation policies, and crippling sanctions. The ANC’s massive looting is quite probably small by comparison. Which is not to excuse the degradation of the incumbents, especially as they were supposed to be morall superior – they’re not.

          • Colin K says:

            While I occasionally disagree with you on some subjects, your understanding of the history and the conclusions you draw on this issue are unassailable

          • Roland Gemmell says:

            I love the comment “worked for a small precentage”. The suburban rail system worked predominantly for the black community – is that your small percentage?

    • Tumelo Tumelo says:

      Please I implore you, educate yourself- I can’t believe I have to say that; the history of S.A did not begin in 1994. This wilful ignorance causes people like you to type embarrassing things, as you have done.

      • Walter Spatula says:

        The consequence-free feeding frenzy that we see now did not occur before 1994.

        Legislating requirements for black middlemen in every transaction has hugely widened the scope for corruption.

        • Jane Crankshaw says:

          I agree – racist BEE policies are exacerbating the stealing and corruption. Get rid of these policies and our economy might have a chance of surviving and growing. BEE policies are no longer providing jobs and livelihoods for the previously disadvantaged – they are now merely a conduit for a protected few to enrich themselves.

      • Hugh Janus says:

        Rich coming from you, considering your support of the ANC. And you are the embarrassing one Tumelo. You are the one copying and pasting the same vague comment over and over again as if it will do something. I am well aware that the history of SA did not begin in 1994. But the crimes of the modern day ANC would truly disgust the pre-1994 ANC, which you seem to think is the same as the old ANC. Sharing a name only means so such, so stop defending a corrupt, incompetent party that DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOU, Tumelo. Unless you’re some employee paid to defend the noble and benevolent ANC which can do no wrong, on social media. Going around waving the deeds of the past will only get you so far, especially when your inaction and incompetence comes back to bite you. And I know you will reply to this comment with some whataboutism about the DA or the same copy and paste comment that I’m replying to now. I will repeat it again, unless you are on the ANC’s payroll, there is nothing you will gain from supporting them.

  • Francoise Phillips says:

    Let us vote for an end to crime and corruption so South Africa can flourish. The ANC delivers corruption, crime, hunger and poverty always. When the leaders steal with impunity the voters starve.

  • Rob Fisher says:

    An ANC / EFF alliance is the end.
    Unless this combo is below 50%, pack for the Western Cape Republic.

    • Random Comment says:

      In all honesty, the taxpayers are already emigrating in droves…they are voting with their feet for Aus, NZ, Ireland, England, Portugal, Mauritius, Cyprus.

      Those that can are leaving, or have already left. They are professionals, tradespeople, teachers, nurses, truck drivers – the backbone of any functioning society.

  • drew barrimore says:

    You can torture and beat any statistic to deliver what you’d like. Yawn.

  • Rob Fisher says:

    Western Cape, KZN, Gauteng and Free State are the only provinces that have a chance of getting the ANC / EFF combo below 50%
    The rest are toast.

  • Louise Roderick says:

    Only time will tell

  • Just Me says:

    The most glaring disconnect between the people (largely uneducated or ignorant) is that only 10% thinking that corruption is SA’s biggest issue. They don’t make the connection that their unemployment is directly linked to ANC corruption.

    • Ashley Stone says:

      Agree!

    • BT Ohlange says:

      Most of these voters were poor long before the corruption of the ANC began. If you think about it from their perspective, it is not clear and obvious that the corruption of the ANC is the cause of their poverty. With the fall of Apartheid, and with the memory of it fading amongst the very youngest, that’s where you get this inability to explain exactly what is going wrong. Remember that most people don’t have the time, energy or interest to spend time thinking deeply about this – they have lives to live.

      Of course, you are right that corruption is the cause. But to clearly make that argument, we would need to explain that the Apartheid government was corrupt too – stealing money and providing nothing to the majority of South Africans. That would solidify the link that the constant in South Africa, regardless of colour, has been a rich kleptocratic elite stealing money from a poor, working majority and distributing patronage to their party members.

      Unfortunately, nobody wants to make this connection. On the ANC side because they wouldn’t want to see the similarities. On the anti-ANC side because there is deep need to see the Nats as evil, yes, but not ‘corrupt’ in the same way as the ANC.

      • Dee Bee says:

        Great post!

      • Gerrie Pretorius says:

        Yes

      • D Rod says:

        Very well said. That being said – consider this, the role of the government is to uplift the poor. In fact one might argue that the health of any society is measured by how they protect the vulnerable.
        South Africa dismally fails this test. This government is not interested in uplifiting the poor as it might jeopardise their votes. Unfortunately, democracy doesn’t work well in countries with poor education and low IQ. Perfect example is the epithomy of hypocrisy that is EFF. They wear overalls and moment they are out of the spotlight, don the R600K Rolex and shiny X5. Yet, the number of EFF votes grows. Sheep can not be helped – they offer themselves to wolves….

  • Henry Henry says:

    This is an old poll!

  • Johan Buys says:

    Ignoring for a moment that it is not legal or possible, it would be interesting to poll voters with a question:

    If you could sell your vote, how much would you sell it for in cold hard cash notes?

  • Thinker and Doer says:

    Unfortunately, it seems that a potential ANC and EFF coalition might potentially be an outcome, which would be terrifying. Also, the proportion of people who have heard of the MPC, who would not vote for it, is also very high. There is a substantial amount of work to be done. Really rolling out a platform that explains how the critical issues highlighted will be addressed will be essential.

    As other commentators have noted, it is amazing how corruption is not of higher concern among voters, it needs to be explained how corruption and maladministration prevent all of these other important issues being effectively addressed.

    It is also shocking that President Ramaphosa is the most popular leader, and Julius Malema is the second most popular, the opposition leaders need to really work on establishing credibility with voters.

    The MPC also needs to really put in place an effective mechanism about how a coalition would operate, as many people are not impressed with how the coalitions in municipalities have been operating, as that has been a complete farce in Johannesburg, for example.

    There is huge work to be done prior to the election!

    • Smanga Z says:

      The MPC is a stillborn – people know this and that is why they will not vote for it – the MPC is not premised upon what it can deliver – but rather about defeating the ANC – you need to convince people to vote for you by presenting arguments for prosperity, not by mentioning the ANC/EFF every time you get a platform – it is low quality politics. They come across as bitter – is politics of vengeance and hate. Even in life in general, you do not get very far by badmouthing others, even if they are bad. Imagine a situation where you are courting a girl, you can’t be focusing your strategy on why she should dump the other guy or choose you over another suitor. You need to tell her what you will offer.

      • Thinker and Doer says:

        Yes, I certainly agree that the focus for the opposition needs to be on presenting a positive platform about how to address the serious issues that the country is facing, just negative campaigning will not persuade people to vote for the opposition.

      • Johan Buys says:

        Smanga : your logic is correct, now explain to us how EFF applies this. List the reasons people should vote for EFF. Or ANC for that matter.

        • B M says:

          ANC: vote for the status quo (i.e. change is scary)
          EFF: vote for whatever is popular at the moment and sounds good. (i.e. flip-flops)
          MPC/DA/ASA/…: vote for something other than the above 2. (i.e. a rational choice)

          Unfortunately, the USP of the MPC and most other parties is not alluring to anyone making an emotional vote (instead of a rational vote).

    • BT Ohlange says:

      I believe the popularity of President Ramaphosa and Mmusi Maimane is indicative of something many opposition leaders don’t seem to get – most South Africans are conflict averse, conciliatory people. They are more like Ramaphosa and Maimane and less like Zille and Malema.

    • Johan Buys says:

      That (anc + eff) is my fear. There is a far greater chance that the crazy part of ANC approves a deal with EFF than approving a deal with anybody else. Imagine a cabinet with 10 EFF ministers and Julius as VP. Imagine the Runt at 25 to the dollar by 2025 and 50 by 2029. Imagine all your kids or grandchildren growing up in another country.

      We have one chance. Use it to assist as many people as you can to vote.

  • andrew farrer says:

    MPC has a HUGE problem if 60% haven’t heard of the pact. If they want to get anywhere they need to work out how to get their message out to these people who are probably only hearing the anc and eff lies

  • Penny Philip says:

    Biggest mistake the DA made was letting Mmusi Maimani go, as well as Herman Mashaba.

    • Thinker and Doer says:

      Yes, they have a significant amount of positive recognition among voters, and the DA certainly needs the support of voters that Maimane and Mashaba have successfully engaged with.

      • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

        I think the reality is starting to sink in, we don’t have an alternative than the ANC when it comes to clear inclusive policies.
        Resources need to be shared but not through land grabs and assuming every white person stole the land and resources.
        Yes there were exclusive policies when wealth was created in the apartheid reign but it doesn’t translate to repeating the same mistakes.
        The corruption in the ANC created a mistrust where those who have lost the will to meet the government in providing those who don’t have, if the 9 wasted years was focusing on truly financing the means to undo the imbalances of the past the situation will be different.
        The parties fighting the ANC have been spending time telling us what we know but no clear policies on how they will be different.
        One party of wealthy people who might have paid by serving time for criminal activities but never returned the ill gotten gains, expects us to believe they will convince our children crime does not pay.
        Some are chasing illegal immigrants citing them as the source of crime in the society forgetting our jails are full of locals.
        Poverty and unemployment is the biggest problem, no clear policy there.
        Coalitions risk parties arguing and blaming each other for the next 5years.
        We are at cross roads as a nation.

  • Charles Butcher says:

    Everyone is now GATVOL with the thieving anc

  • JOHANNES KAKKERLAK says:

    INTO THE DISMAL ABYSS DUSTBIN THE ANC GOES……………..ONLY ORANGE OVERALLS CONTRACTS WILL BOOST THE ECONOMY 🙂

  • Rosemary.falcon says:

    1. We need to know HOW a new govt plans to turn govt depts, SOEs, and the country around in future – ie what needs to be done. HOW is the critical issue. How will education and training change for example. The country NEEDS to go back to technikons, nursing and teacher training colleges and so forth. So few can get into universities and so many fail. The country is so short of job opportunities for those who don’t make university. We need to go back to colleges to get more skills trained people. That includes, artisans – electricians, bricklayers, etc. Most big employment Companies unfortunately insist on higher qualifications without realising the basic fundamental situation. The country could be educated and trained so much better for the future. This could change the “world” in SA! This includes getting overseas advice on turning the police and military around too. Singapore did it and look where that is now?!!

    2. Why has the DA and/ or the MPC not come out loudly in SA? It seems to be so dormant and weak! Get out there loudly with what people want to hear to put this country right, not just putting other parties down.

  • Leslie van Minnen says:

    Unless the spineless president begins firing all the corrupt in his government South Africa is on even more of a slippery slide to other African dictatorships.
    Not seen ant justice metered out to the especially ANC corrupt. Why Not?

    Zimbabwe is the next step.

  • Allan Wolman Wolman says:

    I remember how the press beefed up Harold Wilson which turned out to be hype stoked by the media. Thats exactly what Ferial is doing, and isn’t she rooting for the ANC in disguise?

  • Paddy Ross says:

    I am surprised that nobody seems to have commented that, as I understand it, one can not vote for the MPC. The constituent political parties of the MPC will appear on the ballot papers under their own name. It is only after the votes have been counted that they will come together as an MPC.

  • Jan Vos says:

    Chasing wind. NOTHING will change – they’re all a bunch of clowns.

  • Great to hear the opposition parties are trying to pull together as the MPC. I hope their so called leaders can put their personal egotism on the back burner and make it work as team players for the first time in the history of opposition politics under ANC rule. Question is if they succeed who will be our next president? In my opinion we have a grave shortage of effective political leadership in South Africa.

  • Robert Walsh says:

    We acknowledge corruption by both pre- and post 1994 governments. But please do not allow yourselves to be TRAPPED BY THE PAST. The ANC’s eye-watering levels of corruption are unprecedented. If you say otherwise you are either a fool, lackey or a troll. This statement is decisive. But now we need to look forward – we cannot continue like this – all those people of all races trapped in poverty makes me so sad. This country would be wealthy for ALL if not for the ANC. Followes of a dead ideology. Socialism as they envisage it has failed in every single instance. Cuba, Venezuela, Cambodia etc etc misery compounded upon misery. And I don’t consider the Scandinavians in this grouping. Wise up, stop letting your childish bitterness hold us all back, and vote for the future. And don’t let charlatans say otherwise. I’m so tired and sick of being disgusted and disappointed. This country can be so much more to ALL. Jobs, safety, resource-rich and maintenance of infrastructure.

  • Fernando Moreira says:

    The biggest threat to SA, the ANC voter ,not the ANC. They really dont know any better and complain bitterly forever …you cant script this !
    Vote DA for SA to survive

  • D Rod says:

    ANC + EFF = 54%
    Goodbye South Africa, it was fun while it lasted…..

  • A Concerned Citizen says:

    This idea that the opposition parties in SA have only criticized the ruling party and not showed their own alternative policies is really grating. The DA has been governing with its own policies (incredibly successfully) for decades, and its policies are clearly articulated in summary and at length on its website. If you listen to a single interview with Steenhuisen or any other DA leader, they are at pains to explain how the DA would do things differently. Unfortunately, those policy lines don’t make good headlines, soundbites, or general media, so are left out. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to find out for yourself, though, if you really cared.

  • So ANC + EFF 60%+? We need Cape Independence!

  • Eus de Clerk says:

    We certainly are living in interesting times.

  • HENK CRAUCAMP says:

    Can anyone explain to me how long it would take and what the cost would be to fix the country? Assuming neither the ANC or EFF come into power, how long would it take to rid this country of the ANC’s policy of cronyism, remembering that the ANC has had 30 years to instill their acolytes into positions of favour. You would need wholesale changes at the board levels of every SOE in SA. DG’s and deputy DG’s would need to be replaced. Just think of the interview process, time it will take to find the right people (if they even still exists in SA) and cost to run through the employment process!! Not to say to dismiss the existing acolytes, cause you can’t just dismiss someone if there is cause they need to be suspended (more money out of the coffers) and valid reasons for dismissal…. Then they will go to the courts and more money and time is wasted. 50 years folks….50 years that’s my estimate. No party has that amount of time….we are doomed.

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      The length of time will depend on how soon we start voter education and also teach politicians to visit poverty striken areas frequently before any elections.
      Stop giving party tshirts in winter people wear them under their clothes.
      The list is long but bottom line is the corruption has really eroded the basic trust for any politician irrespective of the party.

  • I just want to read comments

  • Trevor Morgan says:

    How can an ANC with 30 years of corrupt government turn around a failed economy?

  • Greeff Kotzé says:

    Wow, look at Maimane’s recognition and favourables!

    Honestly, I’m surprised. With him having spent most of the DA portion of his career in Parliament, instead of, say, in a premier or mayor position, and then being somewhat out of the limelight for some time after that, I would have thought he would be less known amongst those who do not follow politics that closely.

    Imagine if the DA had kept building with what they had instead falling prey to reactionism.

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