The government has confirmed that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will stand down as African Union Commission chairperson in July.
She, along with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete (and possibly ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe), have been mooted as the main candidates to take over from President Jacob Zuma.
In recent years, confidence in President Zuma has plummeted from a score of 248 in 2009 to -46 by the end of 2015, according to my research.
In keeping with the Constitutional Court ruling, Futurefact found that 80% of South Africans agreed that President Zuma should pay back the money for Nkandla and, unlike our head of state, the court has the confidence of the public (75% of South Africans and a confidence score of 208).
However, neither the president nor the ANC appear to be listening to the wishes of South Africans. Almost nine out of 10 people surveyed believe the government shows little concern for what its citizens think of it, while eight out of 10 claim that it has “forgotten about people like me”.
So when President Zuma’s term is over (for whatever reason), who would South Africans like to see as the next president and which candidate enjoys their confidence?
According to Futurefact, when respondents were presented with a list of possible candidates for the next president, Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma tied for top position.
However, when levels of confidence in these two leaders are taken into consideration, Dlamini-Zuma comes out well ahead of her rival. In addition, 89% of South Africans (87% of males and 91% of females) said they would have no problem voting for a female president.
Other ANC candidates included Mantashe and Mbete, but neither inspired South Africans with much confidence and neither emerged as viable choices for a future president.
Also on the list were Mmusi Maimane and Julius Malema, the leaders of the two largest opposition political parties.
The results show that most South Africans would be unlikely to choose either of them and, particularly in the case of Malema, have little confidence in them.
But low confidence aside, both scored higher than the selection of Mantashe or Mbete as possible future presidents.
Additionally, their profiles may have risen after the survey field work period as a result of the Constitutional Court judgment that ruled against the president and the National Assembly in terms of their conduct according to the Constitution – a motion brought by the Economic Freedom Fighters and supported by the DA, among others.
A large proportion (almost 40%) of South Africans either did not know which candidate they preferred or said they did not want any of those on offer – although there is almost unanimity among citizens that they would prefer to choose the president directly rather than have the party do so, an indictment of the ANC’s choice.
We are living in interesting times in South Africa. But then, when are they ever not?
The findings presented above are from Futurefact 2015/16. They are based on a probability sample of 3 015 adults aged 18 years and over, living in communities of more than 500 people throughout South Africa – representing 22.8 million adults living in 9.4 million households. Visit futurefact.co.za