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The tide swings against the ANC

A Brenthurst Foundation survey has shown support for the governing party is slipping further

South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC) has had its worst opinion poll result (39%) since multi-party democracy was introduced following apartheid in 1994, after a survey of voters by the Brenthurst Foundation. This will undoubtedly intensify speculation that the country is heading for its first coalition government after May's general election.

In an increasingly volatile party battle, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) polled 27%. Former President Jacob Zuma's uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party was on 13%, likely at the expense of the ANC and Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) which is down to 10% (AC Vol 64 No 24, Contenders brace for electoral upsets).

The eight opposition parties, including the DA, which signed a Multi-Party Charter last October aimed at forming a coalition to oust the ANC, polled a combined 33%, putting them within striking distance of the ANC (Dispatches, 1/11/23, Polling hints at opposition breakthrough).

The numbers will worry President Cyril Ramaphosa, whose ANC took 57.5% of the vote in 2019, before dropping below 50% for the first time at local elections in 2021 when the votes were averaged out nationally. So, too, is the finding that 80% of those surveyed agreed that the country was 'going in the wrong direction'.

After two decades of near complete political dominance, the realisation among voters that the ANC could be ousted might increase the momentum against the ruling party.

Though the ANC's 12-point lead is a big enough cushion to suggest that it will top the poll, the fact that its polling numbers continue to trend down, and the slump to the EFF's popularity could rule out an ANC-EFF coalition which analysts view as the most likely scenario after the 29 May elections.


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