ANC Lags in Pretoria, Gains in Mandela Bay, ENCA Poll Shows

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ANC supporters gather ahead of a campaign address and door to door visits by South African president in Pretoria.

Photographer: John Wessels/AFP via Getty Images
  • ANC has 31% backing in Johannesburg, DA 35%, eNCA Poll Shows
  • South Africa’s municipal elections to be held on Aug. 3

South Africa’s African National Congress has failed to erode the lead of the main opposition party in Pretoria, the capital, and Johannesburg, three weeks before the nation holds local government elections, the latest eNCA public-opinion survey shows.

The ANC dropped a point to 25 percent in the Tshwane municipality, which includes Pretoria, while the Democratic Alliance remained steady at 39 percent, according to the poll, which was compiled for the broadcaster by research company Ipsos. The Economic Freedom Fighters gained a point to 13 percent.

In Johannesburg, the commercial hub, the ANC had 31 percent backing, while the DA dropped 1 point to 35 percent, and the EFF rose by an equal margin to 13 percent.

The ANC did lift its support in a third key municipality that it controls, Nelson Mandela Bay, which incorporates the city of Port Elizabeth, where it gained 6 percentage points in the past week to 27 percent, according to the poll, compared to 42 percent for the DA and 8 percent for the EFF.

The poll is the sixth commissioned by eNCA that shows the ANC is facing a serious challenge to maintain control of the three municipalities, as a 27 percent unemployment rate, a lack of basic services and a succession of scandals embroiling party leader President Jacob Zuma takes its toll. The ANC has won more than 60 percent of the vote in every election since white minority rule ended in 1994.

ANC Confidence

“What Ipsos is basically saying is we have lost the election,” Paul Mashatile, the 54-year-old chairman of the ANC in the central Gauteng province, said in a July 7 interview. “I’m not sure how they are doing their research. We are quite confident that in many of our municipalities” the ANC has 50 percent support or more.

The percentage of respondents who said they were undecided about how they would vote was 16 percent in Johannesburg, 13 percent in Tshwane and 15 percent in Mandela Bay.

The August vote is being contested by 200 parties and 61,014 candidates. The ANC won control of 198 of the 278 municipalities, including seven of the country’s eight biggest metropolitan areas, in the last municipal elections in 2011. The DA secured an outright majority in 18 councils, including Cape Town, the second-biggest city, which wasn’t covered by the eNCA poll.

The poll had a margin of error of between 1.2 percent and 2.8 percent in Johannesburg, from 1.6 percent to 3.7 percent in Pretoria and between 2.5 percent and 5.7 percent in Nelson Mandela Bay, according to eNCA.

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