President Cyril Ramaphosa’s approval rating plunged more than eight percentage points in the nine months to March amid the worst power cuts the country has seen, two Social Research Foundation polls show.
A survey conducted last month found the ANC leader was viewed favourably by 40.7% of respondents, down from 49% in June last year. Still, the foundation said in a report released Wednesday, his approval rating among ANC voters was 59%, compared to 66% in the previous poll.
The initial survey was carried out before rotational power outages intensified to the point where they often last more than 10 hours a day. Inflation has remained stubbornly high and the performance of state-run companies has deteriorated.
The president’s main political rival fared little better. John Steenhuisen, leader of the Democratic Alliance, saw his approval rating fall to 15.8% from 23.1%. His rating among black voters remained stuck at just 7%, highlighting the challenge that the white opposition leader faces in overcoming the racial divide that persists in South Africa almost three decades after the end of apartheid.
The rating of Herman Mashaba, leader of Action South Africa, almost halved to 14%, while that of Julius Malema, head of the third-biggest party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, was little changed at 24%.
The foundation surveyed 3 204 registered voters from different races and regions in March and the poll had a margin of error of 1.7%. It canvassed 1 517 people in July and that survey had a 4% margin of error.
In the March poll, Thabo Mbeki, president of South Africa between 1999 and 2007, was the country’s most popular political figure, with a 53% approval rating. His tenure coincided with a period of rapid economic growth and falling unemployment.
South Africa will hold national elections next year. — (c) 2023 Bloomberg LP