A third South Africans who are registered to vote feel that there is no political party that represents their views.
They feel uncertainty about the future and apprehension about the possible outcomes of the elections.
This is according to market research company Ipsos which conducted its latest poll in South Africa from October 23 to December 1, 2023.
The poll included 3 600 face-to-face interviews in the homes and home languages of respondents.
About 42.3 million South Africans aged 18 years or older are eligible to cast their vote. However, as of Wednesday the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) indicated that 27 485 679 South Africans are registered to vote – of whom 55.22% are female and 44.78% male.
“The pivotal factor in this election hinges on voter turnout on the day of the election.
“Several analyses indicate that anticipating a high voter turnout may not be realistic, largely attributed to widespread despondency regarding the country’s situation and low levels of trust in politicians and political parties.
“Conversely, a low voter turnout could potentially benefit the ANC, potentially elevating ANC support close to the halfway (50%) mark. This scenario relies on variable voter turnout across metropolitan and rural areas.
“A higher turnout in rural areas would favour the ANC, given its predominantly rural support base. According to Ipsos’s current modelling, a low voter turnout will mean that in the region of 39% to 41% of the registered electorate turns out to vote; a medium turnout that between 55% to 57% of the registered electorate turns out to vote; and a high voter turnout that between 69% to 71% of the electorate turns out to vote,” the company said.
University of the Free State research fellow and local governance expert Dr Harlan Cloete said people were losing confidence in the political system because they were not getting dividends for democracy.
“People vote and vote, but stay poor, economically excluded. We do not have a system that addresses economic inequalities. The dividends speak to the quality of life, like equal access to education. A lot has changed in the last 30 years but the quality of that change is the question. Houses have been built, but (what about) the quality of the houses, and it is still far from the CBD where people have to take three taxis to get to work.
“Study after study shows young people feel if I vote, so what? This is a pattern worldwide.”
He said in terms of participatory democracy, people also needed to start practising active citizenship, participating in shaping the country.
Policy analyst Nkosikhulule Nyembezi said there were a range of voter attitude measures. “These survey results tell us that many measured attitudes reflect stuff that happened many months ago, not what’s happening now. The overall picture is actually pretty good. More and more citizens are registering, and more and more parties are announcing election manifesto launch dates.”