News / Africa

    South Africa’s Poor Drifting Away From ANC

    South African President Jacob Zuma takes his oath of office during his inauguration ceremony at the Union Buildings in Pretoria May 24, 2014.
    South African President Jacob Zuma takes his oath of office during his inauguration ceremony at the Union Buildings in Pretoria May 24, 2014.
    Anita Powell
    As South Africa’s ruling party settles in for another five years in power, the numbers show that the African National Congress’s traditional support base - low-income voters - has dwindled significantly. For Africa’s leading democracy, this promises interesting elections in 2016, and could signal future changes in the political landscape.

    Just days before voters gave him another term in office, South African President Jacob Zuma drew a clear line across his nation’s electorate, asserting that his traditional support base - South Africa’s working class and poor - had no interest in the scandal involving public money used to make improvements to his private homestead, Nkandla.

    “The people are not worried about it. As a result, people don’t think the Nkandla issue is a problem to affect ANC voters, not at all. It’s not an issue with the voters," said Zuma. "It’s an issue with the bright people. [For the] Very clever people, it’s a big issue.”

    Zuma speaks out

    Zuma, who portrays himself as a populist, has often expressed derision for the people he labels "clever" -- a group he variously defines to include intellectuals, urbanites, journalists, his critics and anyone he feels has turned away from traditional African values.

    To strengthen the party's base, he has campaigned aggressively in rural, impoverished areas. And the nation's poor, who are almost all black, still largely back the ANC.

    The longstanding idea that those voters will remain loyal to the ANC may be slowly crumbling, however, according to researchers from the University of Johannesburg.

    Numbers from the May 7 elections show the ANC dropped only three percent in overall support, but suffered more severe, double-digit percentage drops in some areas.

    The UJ researchers spoke to 1,200 voters in three impoverished areas to try to find out why this is.
     
    Dwindling support

    Their study found that 56 percent of respondents support the ANC, which sounds high, but actually shows a steady decline in ANC support since 1994, when the party came to power.

    Researchers found declining youth support for the ANC.

    They also heard criticism of alleged corruption in the party, but found that among those living in dire poverty, those concerns were trumped by more tangible worries, such as the ANC government’s poor record in reducing crime and maintaining infrastructure.

    They further found that residents were willing to shed party loyalties in local elections -- a finding that could promise an exciting municipal election in 2016.

    Some analysts already have predicted the ANC will struggle to hang on to the nation’s economic powerhouse, Gauteng province.

    Professor Leila Patel said, “In terms of those that would split their vote, there were quite a lot that said they would split their vote, in terms of the national and local elections.”

    Researchers say they plan to do more studies on what is still an emerging trend.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: De La Rey from: Zimbabwe
    May 27, 2014 3:43 PM
    Uhuru! It is high time that the criminal elders realize that the youth will govern the country and not the priveledged few Poda Zulus!!! Mbolgolwane her we come!!!!!

    by: Boer007 from: RSA
    May 27, 2014 3:09 PM
    The South African apartheid government was fighting a war against the Soviet Union for many years. Ironically, with the fall of the soviet union, the ANC immediately came to power...without a war.

    Today the ANC is a far cry from the honour Nelson Mandela bestowed onto the party. Zuma is a man with approx 700 charges of corruption against him that vanished into thin air as he became president.

    But the tied is turning... and maybe not exactly in the direction the Western world would like it. Russia is pretty eager to see the rebirth of the Soviet Union...off course with the help of China. Pre 1994, South Africa was 100% loyal to the West. Today South Africa is firmly in the hand of Russia/China.

    With the ever deteriorating political conditions in South Africa, chances are pretty good that the country could end up like Mozambique or Zimbabwe. The west has punished South Africa's pre 1994 government with massive sanctions, just to hand the country over to Russia/China. As the West declines financially, will they at some point regret this???

    by: David Mohlala from: Gauteng
    May 27, 2014 2:19 PM
    ANC is the party for now and the future
    The number of support might be comming down but there is no alternative now.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora