It was recently announced by government that the national general elections are set to take place in May 2019. It will be South Africa's 5th democratic elections. But, do citizens feel close to the parties they plan on voting for next year?
It's no secret that the three largest political parties in South Africa, the ANC, DA and EFF, have all had their fair share of controversies since the municipal elections.
Most notably, the ANC was hit the hardest when it elected a new leadership early in 2018.
Jacob Zuma was booted on 14 February and Cyril Ramaphosa took his place during the African National Congress.
Then, the state capture inquiry also fingered a couple of ANC loyalists who fell victim to the Guptas' wooing. The inquiry continues to unearth allegations of corruption, not only within the ANC, but many other parties.
Since making huge strides in the 2016 municipal elections, the DA has been plagued by one issue after the other. Most notably, the water crisis in the Western Cape and the leadership war in Cape Town.
Things got so out of hand for the DA, that eventually, its former Cape Town mayor, Patricia de Lille, resigned.
Then, there was also the downfall of its winning coalition with the EFF in Nelson Mandela Bay, where former mayor, Athol Trollip, was shown the door.
Let's not forget the EFF's own struggles.
Recently, several EFF comrades were fingered in the VBS Mutual Bank saga. Most notably, Floyd Shivambu and his brother, Brian.
Shivambu denied receiving R10-million from his brother, Brian. It has been alleged that Brian received R16-million from the bank.
He claimed it was for consultancy work done for Vele Investments. Vele Investments is the majority shareholder in VBS Mutual Bank.
And while these political battles continue, the economy sinks further into troubled, having been classified as being in a technical recession.
Election campaigns are sure to take advantage of these struggles, but will South Africans listen?
According to the Afrobarometer survey, which interviewed 1 800 South Africans in August and September this year, found that the majority of the DA and EFF's potential voters do not feel close to their respective parties. The same can be said about the ANC's potential voters.
Following its analysis, Afrobarometer found that:
- 54% of DA voters don't feel close to the party;
- 52% of EFF voters don't feel close to the party;
- 38% of ANC voters don't feel close to the party.
The survey also found that the majority of those who don't know, refused to answer, or wouldn't vote said they don't feel close to any South African politica party.
- 26% of those questioned said they voted in the 2014 general elections, but added they did not feel a strong connection to any party.
This finding suggests that there is a big portion of the South African population who can still be influenced by party campaigns or policies.
According to the survey, this proves that political performance, and electoral campaigns, still matter to South Africans.
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