Analysis: Voter Apathy in Local Government Election Hits ANC Hard, Surveys Show How South Africans Feel

Analysis: Voter Apathy in Local Government Election Hits ANC Hard, Surveys Show How South Africans Feel

  • The ANC has lost popularity with voters in last week's local government election, and voter apathy is said to be the cause
  • Ipsos and eNCA conducted pre-election surveys, which found that less than half of South Africans support the ruling party
  • The surveys also showed that voters are unsure who they can trust, causing many to not go to the polls at all

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Last week's local government election saw the ANC lose their majority in many municipalities and districts, resulting in hung councils. Voter apathy is counted as one of the main reasons for this happening.

eNCA and market research company Ipsos conducted surveys before the election to gauge voters' opinions and who they support. According to the last survey, which was carried out the night before the election, less than 50% of South Africans who participated have faith in the ANC.

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The surveys were conducted through the use of computer-assisted telephonic interviews (CATI) and only registered voters were approached. Therefore the opinions of those who choose not to register are not included.

Voter apathy, ANC, DA
South Africans are suffering from record-breaking levels of voter apathy. Image: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images and GULSHAN KHAN/AFP via Getty Images.
Source: Getty Images

ANC voter support decreases

However, it seems that even people who are registered to vote felt that they do not want to go to the polls, because they either do not believe their vote will make any meaningful impact or they are at a loss as to who they should cast their vote for.

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Around 25% of those questioned in the first survey said that they are unsure which party should get their vote, and by the last survey this figure had risen to 30%, Times Live reports.

According to previous pre-election surveys, this is the first time that ANC support has dropped this low since 1994. Usually the party scores above 50% in predictions.

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Opinions on voter apathy

Jantjie Xaba, from Stellenbosch University's Department of Sociology & Social Anthropology, told Briefly News that voter apathy is not caused by ignorance or a lack of education, but that it rather stems from the relationship between politicians, or political parties, and voters.

There is often a distance in this relationship, which makes voters feel disconnected from parties. Xaba believes that voters are more concerned with achieving stable service delivery than with maintaining party loyalty.

Many feel that voting for the ANC endorses corruption, while a vote for the DA, especially in the Western Cape, supports their efficient service delivery while turning a blind eye to their poorly executed tender administration.

He also spoke to the way in which political parties may appeal to people from different demographics. The DA appeals more to white voters, whereas black voters face the dilemma of supporting the ANC in memory of what the party meant in the anti-apartheid struggle and transition to a democratic South Africa or choosing a smaller party who are unlikely to gain a majority.

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Overall conclusion on voter apathy

The survey's ultimate prediction was that low voter turnout would cause massive blows to ANC results and benefit the DA.

This did not stray far from the truth, as the ANC did not achieve a majority vote in many areas where they were successful in previous elections. The DA made inroads in KwaZulu Natal with their historic win in uMngeni municipality.

Voter apathy is owed, in part, to factors that have arisen since the last election in 2019; including service delivery issues, Covid-19, loadshedding, rushed election campaigning, and lack of water supply in certain areas.

"This presents a unique challenge for the political parties to up their games and the ANC liberation politics unfortunately do not hold any water anymore.
The people are tired, fed up, disgusted with corruption, lack of accountability and lack of service delivery, they need jobs, land, and services.

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If the ANC does not deliver on this, 2024 election will be the final nail in the ANC’s coffin," Xaba told Briefly News.

EFF's Floyd Shivambu throws punches at Ramaphosa and ANC

Previously Briefly News reported on Economic Freedom Fighter's second-in-command, Floyd Shivambu, taking to social media to throw some political jabs at President Cyril Ramaphosa and the African National Congress.

Heading to Twitter, Shivambu stated that it is quite clear that the ANC and Ramaphosa have not listened to South African voters.

Shivambu insinuated that the ANC and Ramaphosa calling for a re-run of elections is the same as a boxer who has been knocked out but still tries to get up and to continue fighting. He went on to say that even with a re-run of elections, the ANC will no longer be part of the 'political surface'.

Source: Briefly News

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