Johannesburg - The African National Congress is likely to face tougher challenges in the 2019 elections if it does not restore support among supporters, according to research by the University of Johannesburg released on Thursday.
The ruling party was still enjoying substantial support from the older generation, while younger people were split between the Economic Freedom Fighters and Democratic Alliance, according to a study of the 2016 local government elections by UJ’s centre for social change.
It was aimed at understanding growing electoral competition in South Africa and based on the outcomes of an exit poll of 4 313 voters at 11 sites in the country, including Marikana and Potchefstroom in North West, Alexandra and Hammanskraal in Gauteng, and Zamdela in the Free State.
Professor Peter Alexander said it was clear older people, women, and Zulu speakers still placed their trust in the ANC, because of their loyalty to former president Nelson Mandela.
“My own interpretation of the data is that what happens to the ANC will be determined by the length of time Jacob Zuma remains president of the country,” he said.
Though many used the local government elections on August 3 to voice dissatisfaction with the country’s national leaders, service delivery remained a factor.
According to the survey, those who lived in RDP houses were likely to have voted for the ANC, while shack dwellers showed a preference for the EFF.
“Public provision of resources such as social grants, housing, water and electricity is central to electoral competition in South Africa. More than three-quarters of our respondents living in state-provided RDP housing voted for the ANC,” he said.
Additional research would be done into voting patterns in the country and South Africans’ attitudes to democracy.