JUST IN: New survey points to coalition-led SA, but voter apathy a major factor

The latest election survey reveals extensive voter apathy.

The latest election survey reveals extensive voter apathy.

Published May 23, 2024


The results of an in-depth survey conducted by African Innovation Research SA (AIRSA) point to the country’s future being in the hands of coalitions and raise concerns about voter apathy, especially among the youth.

The initial sample comprised some 5 000 participants, of whom 46% confirmed they were either not interested in voting despite being registered or had not registered.

The majority of those surveyed by the independent research company based in Cape Town were in the 18–35 age group, a generation who are increasingly disillusioned with how the country is run.

The remaining 2 700 participants, who were interviewed from across a broad section of South Africa’s nine provinces, indicated that support for the ruling ANC is in decline, dipping below the 50% mark to 43% overall.

The ANC’s strongholds remain the Eastern Cape (61% of those surveyed), 58% in the Free State and 65% in Limpopo, where its challenger is the EFF at 23.7%.

In the country's fourth-largest economy, Mpumalanga, the ANC leads with 52.3%, the EFF at 21.7% and the DA at 19.7%.

In the North West province, it’s a similar pattern, albeit reversed, with the ANC at 48.3%, the DA at 27.7% and the EFF at 20.0%, while in the Northern Cape, the ANC leads with 47.3%, followed by the DA with 24.3% and the EFF with 15.7%.

The country’s economic engine, Gauteng, is a key player in the power dynamics. Here, the ANC garnered 38.7%, but the EFF is growing its base to 19.3%, challenging the DA’s 20% of the province’s voters.

In the Western Cape, as expected, the DA holds onto a leading margin at 46.0%, with the ANC and EFF at 22.3% and 8.7% respectively. Gayton McKenzie’s Patriotic Alliance (PA) also features in the country’s southernmost province, making a notable showing at 5%.

While former president Jacob Zuma may have been barred from becoming a member of Parliament in the Constitutional Court this week, the new uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) will play a pivotal role in KwaZulu-Natal. Results of the AIRSA survey show that while the ANC currently remains ahead with 28.7%, it’s an even race in the province with similar support for the IFP at 26.0% and MKP at 26.7%.

As experience dictates, the smaller parties will begin a series of bargaining tactics as to whose deck they end up in and call the shots.

At collectively accounting for around 20% of the upcoming vote, these potential coalition partners carry significant influence.

AIRSA also noted that voting in this sector is personality-driven as opposed to ideology.

The fragmentation of South Africa’s political landscape could also contribute to increasing dissatisfaction and disillusionment, particularly when linked to the country’s youth and increasing unemployment.

Cape Times