EFF leader Julius Malema addresses a crowd outside the high court in Pretoria. New research has found that EFF leader Julius Malema’s favourability is dropping lower than former president Jacob Zuma’s upon the latter's exit. File photo: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

New research conducted by Citizen Survey has revealed that EFF leader Julius Malema’s favourability is dropping lower than former president Jacob Zuma’s upon the latter's exit. 

The data by the South African research company also shows that ANC leaders’ favourability is also on the decline and that there has been a shift in public opinion towards political leaders and parties since the May national election. 

Citizen Surveys released insights from the latest South African Citizens Survey (SACS) which reveal that favourability ratings of prominent political figures have declined, which likely shows a growing dissatisfaction with the country’s politicians and political parties in general.

The SACS quarterly Q2 data (April – June 2019) revealed that in the past nine months, Malema has seen a steady drop in favourability from a high of 30% in Q4 2018 to 25% in Q2 2019 – a considerable drop of 5%. It also noted that Malema’s Q2 2019 favourability rating is 1% lower than that of Zuma's upon his resignation in Q1 of 2018, which was 26%.

Prior to the election period, in Q4 of 2018, Malema’s favourability was 1% lower than DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s (29%). Maimane’s rating has held steady for Q1 and Q2 of 2019 at 28% while Malema’s has dropped.

The data also showed that while President Cyril Ramaphosa’s favourability ratings may have initially declined from the 64% highs of ‘Ramaphoria’ in Q2 2018, to 55% in Q4 2018 as the extent of state capture became known, the Q2 2019 data shows that his favourability has since risen to 62%, his second highest favourability score since becoming state president. 

Commenting on these findings, strategic research director at Citizen Surveys Reza Omar said: “Comparing and analysing quarterly data affords us the ability to gauge how the public are feeling over a three-month period of time that covers significant events, for example, the May 8 national and provincial election and the State of the Nation address. Both of these events occurred in Q2 of 2019 and saw Ramaphosa considered in a very favourable manner.” 

Meanwhile, the latest June and July 2019 SACS data analysed the most recent changes in the favourability rating of key ANC political leaders and, in comparing perceptions towards the ANC top brass, the monthly data showed some significant drops (5% on average) in their favourability ratings between the months of June and July 2019. 

Some of the findings include: 

* Ramaphosa has unsurprisingly enjoyed the highest favourability rating however his rating dropped by 2% from 64% in June to 62% in July.

* Finance Minister Tito Mboweni enjoyed the second-highest favourability rating of 35% in June which subsequently dropped by a large 6% in July to 29%.

* Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan's favourability dropped from 31% in June to a low of 26% in July. Gordhan is still, however, favoured higher than Deputy President David Mabuza, whose favourability also fell by 5% from 26% in June to 21% in July.

* Beleaguered ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule has the lowest favourability amongst the ANC top brass, having declined from 16% in June to only 11% in July. 

Commenting on this, Omar said: “The significant drop in favourability ratings among the ANC top brass of 5% in only one month should raise concern in the party. The South African public have clearly indicated that the in-fighting and ongoing public court battles are reducing their confidence in the ruling party".

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