Locals rate President Cyril Ramaphosa highly than any political leader in the country despite the current tough economic conditions.
However, more than half (54%) of those polled – including ANC supporters (52%) – feel uncertain about the future of the party due to leadership issues, according to a study conducted by Ipsos released on Friday.
The poll was conducted between April 20 and June 7 this year.
A total of 3619 randomly selected locals were interviewed face-to-face in their homes and in their home languages by trained interviewers.
Interviews were conducted all over the country, from metropolitan areas to deep rural areas.
The study said this methodology ensured that the results were representative of the views of the universe and that findings could be weighted and projected to the universe (that is South Africans from 18 years and older).
Trained quantitative fieldworkers from all population groups were responsible for the interviewing and computer-assisted personal interviewing was used.
All results were collated and analysed in an aggregate format to protect the identity and confidentiality of respondents.
The study said all sample surveys were subject to a margin of error, determined by sample size, sampling methodology and response rate.
The sample error for this sample at a 95% confidence level is a maximum of 1.60%, the study said.
The study said the first part of 2018 has been a bumpy ride for South African politics – as predicted by political analysts at the beginning of the year and that Ramaphosa had multiple issues to address.
These included the poor performance of the rand, the slow growth of the economy, policy uncertainty, political leaders following their own agendas and other issues that are complicating the political scene and progress in the country.
As part of the study, respondents - regardless of their political opinions - were asked how did they rate Ramaphosa as a leader on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 meant they did not support him at all and 10 that he was fully supported.
Support for Ramaphosa comes from the whole country, the study said.
But, it was slightly less in the Western Cape (6.3), Eastern Cape (6.9) and KwaZulu-Natal (6.3) although he performed better than all other political leaders in every province.
In Mpumalanga, Ramaphosa scored 8.5 while deputy president David Mabuza who originates from that province scored 6.1 out of 10.
In the Eastern Cape, the leader performing almost on par with Ramaphosa was Pravin Gordhan with a score of 6.5 and in KwaZulu-Natal former president Jacob Zuma scored 5.9 as opposed to Ramaphosa’s 6.3.
The study said support for Zuma was very low in the country.
In the Western Cape, performance of DA leader Mmusi Maimane is closest to Ramaphosa’s with a score of 5.7 out of 10.
The study also said Ramaphosa’s performance “is rated consistently high from both male and female South Africans of voting age and he scores very high (8.2 out of 10) among ANC supporters”.
Supporters from both the DA and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) rate Ramaphosa’s performance higher than 5 out of 10, the study said.
“If we compare President Ramaphosa’s performance with that of the other political party leaders and the deputy president, it becomes evident how far ahead the president is and how much South Africans expect leadership from him. It is natural that both Maimane and EFF leader Julius Malema enjoy strong support from their own parties, but not from supporters of other political parties. It is also interesting that women marginally support the ANC leaders more strongly, while men rate Maimane and Malema slightly higher than women do,” the study said.
The study also found that during Ramaphosa’s time as deputy president he consistently outperformed Zuma, and since becoming president locals rate him very highly.
“This is exceptional against the background of the general uncertainty in the country and the uncertainty expressed about the ANC’s future,” the study said.
With more than 60% of the delegates in Parliament, the study said the ANC should fulfil a strong leading role in the country, but currently more than half (54%) South Africans agree that the “future of the ANC is uncertain because of the leadership issues within the party”.
The study found that currently only Ramaphosa can possibly change this situation.
However, the study said findings also show that locals support the notion that Ramaphosa “should be more decisive, as appreciation of his role as a political leader has grown over the last few years and currently he enjoys strong support from many quarters”.
The study said the feeling of uncertainty in the ANC’s future is widespread.
• 54% of South Africans over the age of 18 strongly agree or agree that the future of ANC was uncertain due to leadership issues:
• 23% neither agree or disagree;
• 20% disagree or strongly disagree; and
• 3% didn’t know.
• 52% strongly agree or agree;
• 24% neither agree or disagree;
• 22% disagree or strongly disagree; and
• 2% didn’t know.
• 60% strongly agree or agree;
• 20% neither agree or disagree;
• 16% disagree or strongly disagree; and
• 4% didn’t know.
• 60% strongly agree or agree;
• 22% neither agree or disagree;
• 17% disagree or strongly disagree; and
• 1% didn’t know.
“Larger proportions of supporters of the main opposition parties, the DA and EFF, agree that the ANC has an uncertain future, but it is interesting to note that more than half (52%) of ANC supporters also agree. Only one in every five South Africans (20%) feel certain about the future of the party,” the study said.
It also made a finding with regard to the support for female and male politicians.
The study said that in general, support of women for female politicians is higher than the support of men for female politicians, but this was not remarkably so.
“In South Africa we still have a very long way to go in terms of gender equality, as almost half of men (49%) and four in every ten women (41%) believe that men make better political leaders than women do, a sobering reflection during Women’s month,” the study said.