South Africa dissemination press releases (24th November 2015)

Governance

Public confidence in President Zuma declines significantly:

On 7 May 2014, the African National Congress (ANC) won its fifth consecutive national election since South Africa’s transition to universal suffrage in 1994. President Jacob Zuma, the party’s president, was subsequently elected for his second term in office by members of the National Assembly. Although the ANC’s 2014 victory confirmed the party’s electoral dominance, their share of the vote declined from 66% in 2009 to 62% (Electoral Commission of South Africa, 2015). The latest public opinion data from the Afrobarometer surveys indicates that President Zuma has lost significant citizen support since 2011.

Public disapproval of the president’s performance is currently at its highest level since the initial survey was conducted in 2000, along with perceptions of corruption in the Presidency. Furthermore, South Africans’ trust in President Zuma almost halved in the past four years, with a majority reporting that they believe that he routinely ignores both the legislature and judiciary.

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South Africans disapprove of government’s performance on unemployment, housing and crime:

For two decades, South Africa has been grappling with the agonizing triple challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality. President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address in February 2015 called upon the nation to be united in advancing economic freedom. Most South Africans would acknowledge that despite gains in political freedom, much remains to be done to overcome poverty and bring economic independence to the Rainbow Nation.

A new Afrobarometer survey shows that unemployment remains the most important problem for government to address, cited as one of their three top priorities by nearly three-quarters of the survey respondents. In a list of citizen priorities that is largely unchanged from Afrobarometer’s previous survey in 2011, unemployment is followed by housing, crime, education, poverty, and corruption.

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Premiers lead the way among elected leaders’ performance:

Premiers – currently enjoy the highest levels of public approval among elected leaders in South Africa after significant declines in evaluations of President Zuma and members of parliament’s performances since the last round of surveys in 2011.

Over half of South Africans approve of their provincial leaders and only a third disapproving. Further analysis by province shows that residents of the opposition-led Western Cape are the most satisfied (62%), followed by those in KwaZulu-Natal (60%) and the Free State (55%).

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Majority of South Africans believe President Zuma is ignoring Parliament and the law:

While President Jacob Zuma’s approval ratings have declined significantly (by 28 percentage points), a majority of South Africans say he acts with impunity towards Parliament and the law.

South Africans are also of the opinion that there should be limitations on presidential power including strict term limits and accounting to parliament for government expenditure.

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