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May 24, 2024

Poll shows South Africa’s ruling ANC losing support as election nears 

Poll shows South Africa's ruling ANC losing support as election nears

Ramaphosa

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) is losing ground, according to a poll released on Friday, less than a week before the tightest election since the advent of democracy in 1994.

The ANC, which has been in power for all of those past three decades, is still projected to emerge from the May 29 general election as the biggest party.

But it could lose its outright majority in parliament for the first time.

ANC support has dropped from 45.9 to 40.8 percent in just under a week, based on a 60-percent voter turnout, according to the Social Research Foundation (SRF) opinion poll.

The party of late anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela won 57.5 percent of the vote at the last general election in 2019.

Last week President Cyril Ramaphosa signed a new law which aims to provide universal healthcare, despite objections from the political opposition and business groups.

Some observers believe the move could have contributed to the recent decline in ANC support and have questioned the timing of the announcement, two weeks ahead of the election.

The ANC is also facing growing discontent among South Africa’s population of 62 million people.

Many are fed up with sluggish economic growth, high unemployment, crime, inequality and collapsing public infrastructure that has led to water and power shortages.

Successive graft scandals have further tarnished the ANC’s reputation, fuelling disillusionment with politics and voter abstention.

Scoring below 50 percent in the forthcoming ballot would put the ANC in unchartered waters, forcing it to find coalition partners in order to remain in power.

The country’s biggest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), was polling at 23.7 percent on Friday.

The DA, which runs Cape Town, has struggled to shake off its image as a party for the white minority.

It has worked in recent years to win over black voters and has struck a coalition deal with almost a dozen smaller parties for next week’s ballot.

But it has so far failed to make a convincing breakthrough.

Trailing in the polls are the radical left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters (EEF) and the newly created uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) of former president Jacob Zuma, which threatens to take votes away from the ANC.

The SRF survey put the EFF of leftist firebrand Julius Malema on 7.3 percent.

The colourful Zuma, who was forced out of the ANC and out of office under a cloud of corruption allegations, has been barred from standing as a candidate in his own right.

His new party is predicted to score 13.3 percent.

AFP