Zuma should debate Zille - survey

2012-10-29 17:15
Jacob Zuma (Picture: Sapa)

Jacob Zuma (Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Almost two-thirds of young South Africans think President Jacob Zuma should accept DA leader Helen Zille's challenge to a debate, according to a survey released on Monday.

"Young people are eager to see Zuma and Zille publicly debate South Africa's politics," said Shirley Wakefield, of consumer insights company Pondering Panda.

Sixty-four percent of respondents said Zuma should accept Zille's challenge, while 27 percent said he would be wasting his time. Nine percent were unable to decide.

Earlier this month, Zille called on Zuma to debate the state of the economy. Zuma turned her down.

Pondering Panda polled 2 874 respondents between the ages of 18 and 34, across South Africa. All interviews were conducted on cellphones with Mxit users between 22 and 24 October

When broken down by race, 77% of whites, 81% of coloureds, and 74% of Indians felt Zuma should accept Zille's challenge. This compared to 61% of blacks.

When asked who they would like to have as their next president, 32% chose Zuma and 24% Zille. However, 36% rejected both candidates and eight percent were unable to decide.

Most whites (62%) and coloureds (53%) said they would rather see Zille as the next president.

In contrast, 38% of blacks and 41% of Indians favoured neither candidate.

"If our leaders want to win the youth vote, public debates are something they will need to embrace to do so," said Wakefield.

"Our survey also shows that young people lack confidence in both candidates, something that a debate could help change."

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