Many voters are still undecided about who they are going to vote for in the upcoming elections.
The biggest factor is a steady decline in the trust of embattled state-owned enterprise Eskom, following the bout of loadshedding that hit the country in February.
This is according to a survey conducted by Citizens Surveys for the first quarter of 2019.
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The public opinions of 3900 people analysed between January and March this year showed that more people have less confidence in the direction in which the country is headed.
Five key findings from this report include:
1. Party support is ever-wavering, but undecided voters remain key.
2. Trust in Eskom has dropped dramatically and contributed to the increased perception of corruption.
3. The direction of the country looks bleak.
4. South Africans alienate some leaders from their parties; and
5. There are 5.1 million unmotivated, yet registered voters, as political alienation grows.
Based on a high-turnout scenario of 20 million registered voters who have easy accessibility to the polling stations and who are motivated to vote on May 8, the survey reveals that the impact of Eskom’s load shedding has led to a decrease in voter support for the ANC from 63% in February to 61 % in March, with the EFF picking up these votes from 9% in February to 11% in March.
“After seeing an increase in their estimated electoral performance in January (21%), the DA saw a return to 19%, both in February and March 2019,” the survey has revealed.
When the country was hit with load shedding in February, trust in Eskom dropped dramatically between January and March by 17%, from 56% in January to 49% in February and then to 39% in March.
“This is hardly surprising given the massive impact that the recent load shedding – and public discoveries of the true state of Eskom’s finances following [deputy president David] Mabuza and [Public Enterprises Minister Pravin] Gordhan’s recent statements – has had on South Africans.
In February, Mabuza was shunned for confidently saying that load shedding was “a sign of growth”. He later cited the state of Eskom’s governance and financial struggles as the reason behind the load shedding.
The survey also shows that the perception that corruption was increasing also increased rapidly from 70% in February to 79% in March.
“There is therefore a correlation between how the public’s mistrust in Eskom directly influences their perceptions of corruption,” the survey says.