A recent poll by Ipsos indicates that South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) could lose some of its major seats in urban areas in the upcoming local level elections.
Economic hub Johannesburg, the capital, Pretoria and Nelson Mandela Bay on the east coast which have been held by the ANC since it came into power in 1994, according to the poll, could fall to the opposition Democratic Alliance.
The ANC’s support in Johannesburg is projected to slip to 31 percent from the 59 percent it garnered in the 2011 local elections. Its support base in the Tshwane municipality which includes the capital Pretoria is also set to decline to 23 percent from 55 percent. Support in the Nelson Mandela Bay is said to be at 28 percent, down from 52 percent.
The ANC’s reputation has been greatly affected by accusations of corruption against Jacob Zuma leading to pressure from the opposition for him to step down as president.
But the ANC has defended Zuma saying the accusations against him would not damage the party’s chances at the polls.
SIYANQOBA (@MYANC) July 27, 2016
High unemployment rate in Africa’s most industrialized nation, which is also on the brink of a recession, the poll notes, has also left many voters disenchanted.
But the ANC is counting on its achievements which include the provision of housing and increased basic sanitation across the country.
The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) is however on a prowl to cause a major upset in the polls as for the first time in its history, it has fielded a candidate in every municipality across the country.
The DA which had a head start in campaigns for the August elections claims to be the only party with radio adverts and posters in all 11 official languages in South Africa.
Its leader, Mmusi Maimane is quoted by the Daily Maverick as saying: “We are now running the biggest election campaign in the history of the party, in every corner of the country. We have the momentum and we can win.”
In spite of a recent wave of violent anti-government protests and Zuma’s approval rating nose diving to 34 percent, according to the latest Afrobarometer survey, some analysts say it may not necessarily affect the outcome of the local level elections.
“People come out in protests. But still, as they protest against the ANC, they’re hoping it’s the ANC that will solve the country’s problems,” Aubrey Matshiqi, a political analyst told the Reuters news agency.