Load shedding will hurt ANC, help EFF in upcoming elections – report

Eskom load shedding. Picture Ian Landsberg / African News Agency (ANA)

The red berets – rather than official opposition the DA – are picking up lost ANC voters according to a newly released survey.

Research from the SA Citizens Survey (SACS) has found there has been a 2% drop in the ANC’s support in election polls, from 63% in February to 61% in March, with load shedding the likely explanation behind this, Pretoria News reports.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), it seems, is the party benefiting from this drop, with polls showing them rising from 9% to 11% following South Africa’s recent power problems.

The DA, meanwhile, rose to 21% in January but dropped back to 19% in February and March, according to the research.

Strategic research director at SACS Reza Omar said: “Political parties are doing their utmost to gain as much support as possible in the next few weeks, but the unmotivated registered voters who currently feel politically alienated should be a core group that they attempt to reach.”

Among 27 million registered voters, 19% are considered “unmotivated” according to the latest stats, up from 15% in January and 18% in February.

“The 8% decrease in the number of South Africans who believe the country is heading in the right direction – in comparison to January and February this year – shows the need for drastic action to be taken to reassure the South African public that socio-economic conditions can, and will, improve,” Omar said.

ANC Western Cape election manager Grant Pascoe told Pretoria News that he didn’t believe the survey was correct in its predictions regarding the party.

“While we acknowledge there have been major issues, the ship is steady under the leadership of Cyril Ramaphosa,” he said.

The Institute of Race Relation’s (IRR) February 2019 election poll – released before the recent bout of rolling blackouts – also showed a drop in ANC support and an increase in support for the EFF.

That poll put the ANC much lower than the SACS, at 54.7% nationally, down 1.3 percentage points from the institute’s December poll (56%).

It put the DA at 21.8% nationally, up 3.1 percentage points from December (18%), and the EFF at 12.2% nationally, up 1.2 percentage points from December (11%).

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)

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