JOHANNESBURG South Africans go to the polls next Wednesday in general elections, with most opinion surveys showing the ruling African National Congress heading toward another victory.
Separate pre-election polls by two marketing and research companies � MarkData and Ipsos � predict the ANC will win about 60% of the vote. Another poll by the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) shows the ANC winning around 51%.
In addition, all the surveys reflect a decline in ANC support, after the party won just over 62% in the 2014 elections.
Gareth van Onselen, head of politics and governance at the IRR, says that while President Cyril Ramaphosa remains popular, the ANC’s scandals are catching up to the party.
“The ANC has done a great damage to its brand over the last 10 years and Cyril Ramaphosa is the exemplar for hope and renewal, so it makes sense that he is more popular than the party, but the problem is that the party itself has been undermining the offer of Cyril Ramaphosa and, hence, the decline in support in April,” van Onselen said.
The opposition parties still trail the ANC by large margins. MarkData and Ipsos show the Democratic Alliance, or DA, party winning between 19% and 22%, while the Economic Freedom Fighters are projected to win 11% to 13%.
The polls show a lack of enthusiasm for voting and politics among the youth. Precious Hlubelo Hlatshwayo, an economics student at the University of Johannesburg, sees debt as a key factor.
“Like the debts of the country are raging in the trillions. The state-owned entities are in debts and we suffer when taxes are increased, when prices are increased. So, at the end of the day, why should I vote?” Hlatshwayo said.
Parties have embarked on the final leg of their campaign, with a variety of messages to lure the electorate.
“This election is a choice between corruption and the future of South Africa,” said Mmusi Maimane, the DA leader.
“The land must be taken and given to our people free of charge,” EFF leader Julius Malema said on the campaign trail.
Most parties have scheduled final rallies over the coming days to lure registered voters, especially those who are still undecided.
Source: Voice of America