The ANC, which has been in power in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994, is now supported by just 45% of voters and could lose its majority in next year's elections, according to a poll published this week.
With less than a year to go before the general elections, which are due to be held between May and August 2024, the African National Congress (ANC), the party reshaped by Nelson Mandela to lead the fight against the former segregationist regime, appears to be in freefall, with previous polls already suggesting that its support could fall below 50%.
Only 45% of people are prepared to vote for the ANC if the election were held tomorrow, compared with 52% in March, according to this poll carried out in October by the Social Research Foundation (SRF) among a representative sample of 1,412 registered voters, with a margin of error of 5%.
South Africans elect their parliament, where the majority party then appoints its president. Nelson Mandela, the icon of the struggle against apartheid, was elected in this way in 1994 in the first democratic elections.
The ANC, a divided party with a reputation tarnished by corruption, nepotism and a poor economic record, is losing ground to the leading opposition party, the centrist Democratic Alliance (DA), which is rising in this poll.
"Support levels for the ANC appear to have fallen somewhat", while those for the DA "appear to have increased over the same period", notes the RSF.
The second opposition party, the EFF (radical left), has 9% of voting intentions. To stay in power, the ANC could seek to build a coalition, just as the opposition is trying to unseat the party in power, according to a number of political commentators.