Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma’s public approval rating has reached an all-time low and most members of his ruling African National Congress (ANC) want him to resign, according to an opinion poll released two days after he survived a second bid to oust him.
Almost two-thirds of eligible voters want Zuma to quit, the survey released on Tuesday by research company Ipsos found. About 54% of ANC supporters say the president should step down voluntarily, while 27% want him to stay in his position, according to the poll, which was commissioned by broadcaster eNCA.
The survey of 3 471 eligible voters from April 21 to May 22 had a margin of error of as much as 1.63%.
The ANC’s national executive committee rejected a proposal to recall Zuma, 75, as president at a three-day meeting that ended Sunday. It was the second bid to oust him by members of the party’s top leadership since November and may not be the last before a national conference names a new leader in December, party Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe told reporters on Monday.
Zuma’s due to step down as the nation’s president in 2019.
Opposition to Zuma within the ANC has mounted since he fired Pravin Gordhan as finance minister and made 19 other changes to the executive on March 31 - a move that sparked public protests and cost the country its investment-grade credit rating. S&P Global Ratings is expected to release a ratings review of the country’s growth prospects and ability to repay its debt on Friday.
Zuma’s overall approval rating fell to 2.8 out of 10 people from 4 out of 10 in November, the lowest score obtained for any South African president measured by Ipsos since it started conducting surveys in 1993.
The ranking of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who’s bidding to succeed Zuma as ANC president, remained the same at 5.3 out of 10 eligible voters while it climbed among party supporters to 6.6 out of 10 from 5.9 in November, according to Ipsos.
Ramaphosa’s main rival for the ANC leadership, Zuma’s ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, was viewed favourably by 4.6 out of 10 eligible voters and 5.9 among ANC supporters, according to the poll.
Zuma has faced calls to resign since March last year when the nation’s top court ruled that he “failed to uphold, defend and respect the constitution” because he didn’t abide by a directive from the graft ombudsman to repay some of the R215.9m spent upgrading his private home.
Discontent with his rule contributed to the ANC’s loss of control of Johannesburg, the economic hub, and Pretoria, the capital, in an August municipal vote.
Zuma still faces a no-confidence motion called by opposition parties in parliament once the Constitutional Court rules on whether the vote should be held by secret ballot. The ANC has ordered its lawmakers, who hold 62% of the 400 seats in the National Assembly, to vote against the motion.
Among other parties, the Ipsos survey found that Mmusi Maimane’s approval rating from Democratic Alliance supporters has increased to 80% from 70%, while members of Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters raised his approval rating to 8.2 out of 10 from 7.6.