The ruling African National Congress may lose control of three of South Africa’s main cities including the capital, Pretoria, and the key economic hub, Johannesburg, in Aug. 3 municipal elections, according to a poll released Thursday.
In Johannesburg, 31 percent of respondents said they would vote for the ANC, 29 percent supported the Democratic Alliance and 10 percent backed the Economic Freedom Fighters, the survey conducted June 6 and 7 by research company Ipsos for Johannesburg-based broadcaster eNCA found.
The DA topped the rankings in the Tshwane municipality, which includes Pretoria, with 33 percent support, while the ANC polled 28 percent and the EFF 10 percent. In the southern Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, which incorporates the city of Port Elizabeth, the DA had 34 percent backing, the ANC 30 percent and the EFF 7 percent.
The Ipsos poll results suggest support for the ANC has slipped following a series of scandals implicating its leader, President Jacob Zuma, and amid rising discontent grows over a lack of jobs, decent housing and education. Both the DA and EFF have said they are prepared to enter into coalitions with other opposition parties but not the ANC.
The ANC, which has ruled Africa’s most industrialized economy since the first multiracial elections in 1994, secured an outright majority in all three cities in the last municipal vote five years ago and won 62 percent support in the last national election in 2014.
“I think the ANC should be extremely concerned about this poll,” Daniel Silke, director of Cape Town-based Political Futures Consultancy, said by phone. “It shows there are more South Africans in the urban areas that are prepared to consider an alternative to the ANC than at any other time since 1994.”
Ipsos surveyed 3,000 eligible voters across the three cities. The election results may still change, with between 17 and 21 percent of respondents in each of the cities saying they were undecided about who they would vote for, it said.