South Africans Overwhelmingly Favour a National Coalition to Govern the Country – Electoral Survey
With the ANC set to lose its majority in the 2024 election, close to 80% of voters say they want the country to be run by a coalition government, a new survey by The Brenthurst Foundation has found.
Director, The Brenthurst Foundation
Research Director, The Brenthurst Foundation
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South Africa is heading for a fundamental shake-up following the 2024 election, with the ANC set to lose its majority, leading to a coalition government for the first time since democracy was introduced in 1994.
The ANC share of the vote among those who will definitely cast their ballots will fall to 46.7% of the vote in the 2024 election from 57.5% in 2019, a survey conducted on behalf of The Brenthurst Foundation has found.
The survey, conducted through in-depth interviews with a random sample of voters in late October and early November 2022 by Sabi Strategy Group, found that the DA would improve to 24% from 20.8% in 2019, while the EFF would remain at around 10.7% of the vote.
The electoral survey result was based on responses from those who said they would “definitely vote” in 2024.
Voters appear ready for a dramatic change. Some 78.6% said they would be “happy to see a coalition of parties govern South Africa” with only 19.3% saying they would not. This is despite the strained nature of municipal coalitions in recent months with parties ousting each other and rewriting coalition agreements.
Should the ANC get 46.7% of the vote, it could form a government with one or smaller parties and retain the presidency and the lion’s share of Cabinet posts. The ANC and EFF have already attempted to cooperate to take over the Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni Metro governments by forming a coalition, but this effort failed when they could not agree on the EFF taking the mayoral position in Ekurhuleni.
If the ANC’s RET faction has a strong showing at the ANC’s December conference, an ANC-EFF pact at national level is likely, although the survey finds that just 18.7% of voters support the idea of an ANC-EFF coalition.
For now, President Cyril Ramaphosa appears to be in control going into the conference with far more support than his nearest rivals. Ramaphosa is expected to prefer an alliance with centrist parties such as the IFP.
Voters said they would prefer the country to be run by a coalition of opposition parties (22.8%) or an ANC-DA coalition (21.1%), the latter including 21% of black and 22% of coloured voters.
The Western Cape and Cape Town are viewed as the best-governed province and city, while on governance, the 24% voting gap between the ANC and the DA narrows to 5.9%. One in 10 ANC voters believe the DA governs better than the ANC.
The survey finds that South Africans are focussed on the issues of the day rather than the past.
Jobs (30.7%), corruption (24.9%), rolling blackouts (16.8%) and crime (10.7%) were cited as the country’s biggest problems. When asked who or what was to blame for these problems, voters overwhelmingly (51.5%) said the “ANC government of the last three decades” with only 8.8% blaming apartheid, 8.6% blaming the Constitution and 7.4% “racists”.
While the ANC debates the wisdom of private sector involvement in key basic services, its constituency has already decided. Over three-quarters of respondents want the private sector to help provide key services such as water, electricity and rail. Just 16% of black voters said they preferred no private sector participation.
More than 80% of those surveyed believe that South Africa is “going in the wrong direction” with only 13.5% saying it was going in the right direction. This sentiment was shared by ANC supporters, 66% of whom said the country was on the wrong path, and by 63% of black South Africans. Only 26% of ANC supporters believed the country was going in the right direction.
The survey also found that 74.3% of South Africans believed that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should be “strongly condemned” with only 12.7% saying it was “an acceptable use of force”. Over 80% said South Africa should offer a democratic country invaded by its neighbour moral, diplomatic or military support.
As President Ramaphosa wraps up his state visit to Britain, the survey suggests his voters are more impressed by the West than the ANC’s preferred partners. When asked where they would move if they were to leave South Africa, only 4.1% said Russia while 3.6% said China. Some 22.6% (including 26% of black voters) said they would move to the US, 16.6% said they would move to an African country while 14.9% said Australia or New Zealand and 12.7% said Europe.
The survey shows that values and delivery matter while they are less inclined to blame the country’s apartheid past for present-day problems some 28 years after democracy was introduced. The politics of race and identity are less relevant than getting the economy growing and government focussed on delivering.
This article originally appeared on the Daily Maverick
Photo: Al Jazeera English Flickr