52% of ANC supporters say future of party is uncertain - Ipsos

Survey finds that only 39% of South Africans think country going in right direction

Half of ANC supporters worried about leadership issues.

Bryanston - More than half (53%) of adult South Africans AND 52% of ANC supporters agree that the future of the ANC is uncertain because of the leadership issues within the party. Only two in every ten ANC supporters (19%) disagreed.

The reaction of South Africans on this statement was tested in November amongst a representative sample of adults.  The last six months were definitely characterised by increasing political uncertainty and speculation in the country - and the proportion who agree with this statement is up from 48% in May this year. 

To add to the uncertainty, only four in every ten (39%) South Africans currently think that the country is going in the right direction - this is down 7 percentage points from 46% in May 2012. On the other side of the coin, the proportion who said the country is going in the wrong direction is now 42% (up from 33% in May). (The balance did not have an opinion on this issue.)

Against this background it is understandable that the ANC nomination conferences in the nine provinces were not without incident. Especially in Limpopo and the Western Cape the process was drawn out.  At the moment it looks certain that president Zuma will carry the vote in Mangaung, as only the 4500 delegates to the ANC conference will decide on the ruling party's (and the country's) next president.  However, an evaluation of the views of all South Africans and ANC supporters gives an interesting perspective.

In November Ipsos asked a randomly selected sample of 3,563 adult South Africans to evaluate the leadership of a number of politicians on a scale - where 10 means that the respondent is totally in favour of the leader and 0 means the respondent is totally against the leader.

If we look at comparable figures for the president and the deputy president, it is clear that the president's scores are lower now than in May this year - amongst the general public and ANC supporters specifically, whereas the deputy president gained some ground over the last six months from both groups:


May 2012 General Public - points out of 10

Nov 2012 General Public - points out of 10

May 2012

ANC supporters - points out of 10

Nov 2012

ANC supporters- points out of 10

Jacob Zuma





Kgalema Motlanthe





The question was also asked: How well do you think.... Is doing his job? The purpose of this question was to evaluate the president's/deputy president's performance in their current roles and the answer categories were:


  • Very well
  • Fairly well
  • Not very well
  • Not at all well
  • Respondents could also indicate if they had no opinion on this issue.



President Jacob Zuma

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe


General public


ANC supporters %

General public


ANC supporters %

Very well / fairly well





Not very well / Not at all well





Not surprisingly the ANC supporters expressed a higher degree of appreciation of the way the two people at the helm of the country do their respective jobs. Interestingly, both the general public and ANC supporters expressed more appreciation for the way in which the deputy president went about his tasks. It is clear that these views did not carry through to the nominations for the ANC's Mangaung conference.

Respondents were also asked to evaluate the leadership of other prominent ANC leaders on the scale mentioned earlier.  The table below outlines these scores:


May 2012 General Public - points out of 10

Nov 2012 General Public - points out of 10

May 2012

ANC supporters - points out of 10

Nov 2012

ANC supporters - points out of 10

Gwede Mantashe





Baleka Mbete





Thandi Modise





Matthews Phosa





In all cases these leaders performed better in November than in May this year - this can also be attributed to more media prominence during the last six months.

At the time of writing Cyril Ramaphosa has not yet indicated whether he will accept the nomination for the position of deputy president of the ANC.  Although he has stayed out of the limelight for years , 2012 has seen him far more in the public eye - as a politician, but mainly as a prominent business person in South Africa.

On the points out of 10 scale, Cyril Ramaphosa achieved score of 4.81 in November (this is up from 4.44 in May). This is an indication that his growing public profile in the country.  Even more significantly, his assessment by ANC supporters grew from 4.78 in May to 5.25 in November.

Taking the average as a benchmark, Ramaphosa's support stronghold can be summarised as follows:


  • Age groups:      15-24 years old; 35-49 years old and  50 +
  • Those in formal employment
  • People in large and small towns, villages and rural areas
  • Provinces: Northern Cape, Free State, Mpumalanga and Limpopo


Technical aspects

Fieldwork was carried out from 13 April to 18 May 2012 by trained and experienced fieldworkers

Face-to-face in-home interviews were conducted with a randomly chosen sample of 3 563 South Africans, 15 years and older, interviewed in the language preferred by the respondent.

The results were weighted and projected to the universe (i.e. adult South Africans).

Statement issued by Mari Harris, Director Ipsos Public Affairs, December 7 2012

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