The ANC is prepared to lose at least two percentage points of electoral support in the upcoming May 8 general elections, but wants to grow the actual number of party voters by at least two million more – a tenfold leap in comparison to the numbers in the previous round of elections in 2014.
The governing party said in its election road map document, that has been doing the rounds in ANC circles since Tuesday, that to achieve its target of 60% majority or more, it would “need to deliver all 11 million former ANC voters plus 2-3 million who have never voted ANC before”.
In 2014 the ANC won the elections by 62,15%, down from 65,90% in the 2009 polls. Although the percentage of support dropped, the party got just over 200,000 more votes in 2014 than in 2009.
In comparison, the measly growth numbers the party recorded in 2009 makes the two million or more target this year an ambitious jump, particularly when Eskom’s load shedding crisis and revelations of rampant corruption in the state capture commission continue to dampen the general public mood.
“To achieve this, we need a very positive mood in the country, and well informed and highly motivated ANC voters,” read the party document.
“None of this can be achieved without massive direct voter contact, thousands of volunteers working with well-oiled election structures, and positive, clear and consistent communication.”
Among the challenges the ANC has already noted are that election structures were not set up with the right people and with enough time; conference hangovers still persist despite the positive mood being created; and a lack of adequate resources and key leadership involvement in the campaign, especially public representatives.
The party also failed to meet its targets during the first round of registration.
A February 2019 survey released on Tuesday by the Association for Free Research and International Cooperation (AFRIC) found that “the political party that is trusted by the majority of South Africans to be in charge of the country’s further development is the ANC”.
After interviewing 1501 respondents who are eligible to vote across all the nine provinces, AFRIC, a community of independent researchers, experts and activists, found that “if the elections were held tomorrow,” the ANC would win by a majority of 58,1%.
The EFF (16,7%) would topple the DA (9,8%) as the main opposition and that former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille’s Good Party would eclipse the IFP and Cope to become the fourth largest opposition. Almost 12% of the respondents were undecided.
According to the survey outcomes, unemployment, corruption and high crime rates remain the main problems in the country, “yet there are economic improvements noticed over the past several months” under President Cyril Ramaphosa.
In the survey, coming exactly a year after Ramaphosa replaced former president Jacob Zuma as head of state, the 1501 respondents were also asked to elaborate on what they thought about Ramaphosa’s performance.
“49% positively asses the performance of Ramaphosa, [while] 31,3% found it difficult to provide an assessment”.
At least “69.2% would like to see Ramaphosa as the president in the next five years”.
“Their answer was ‘Yes, definitely’ (55.4%), another 13.8% have said ‘Yes, mostly’”.
AFRIC, conducted a similar survey with 2249 respondents in October 2018.
In comparison to the February outcomes, the negative attitude towards the ANC has decreased by 3,5%”. At the same time the positive attitude towards the DA is 4% lower and the EFF 5,4% lower.
However, said AFRIC “it is important to mention that 6 million South Africans under 30 years of age are eligible to vote and have not registered as voters, while youth is the core support group of the EFF”.
According to the respondents, the main achievements of the ANC during the past several years were “new initiatives to support business and develop the local economy; anti-corruption policies; new taxes in order to improve the economy of the country; launched measures to reduce crime; reduction in rent for housing and effective teenage pregnancy prevention programs”.