Support for the ANC has been in decline since 2004 as a result of growing mistrust by the people who voted for it in large numbers in the past.
This is the view of Gareth Newham‚ head of the governance‚ crime and justice division at the Institute for Security Studies.
Newham was discussing key dynamics behind the recent local elections‚ which saw the ANC’s support drop from 62.0% in 2011 to 55.6% in 2016. He was also discussing what to expect in the run-up to the 2019 national elections.
“The root cause of the mistrust is because of issues of ethical leadership‚’ Newham said.
These included issues of state capture and the finding by the Constitutional Court this year that President Jacob Zuma did not uphold‚ defend and respect the Constitution when he failed to comply with the remedial action taken against him by the Public Protector on the non-security upgrades at his Nkandla home.
Newham said the ANC had lost support in most provinces‚ except in KwaZulu-Natal.
Newham said there had been calls for the ANC elective conference to be moved forward to before December 2017.
He said if the elective conference resolved to support the new leadership close to Zuma‚ the ANC will see little change in its fortunes as voters will perceive the leadership as allowing corruption to continue taking place.
“The ANC’s biggest challenge is to elect a new leadership of people who are honest and not seen to be involved in corruption‚” Newham said.
Newham said although the DA had grown considerably in the past 20 years — its predecessor‚ the Democratic Party‚ obtained less than 2% of the vote in the first national election in 1994 – its growth in the two local government elections had only been marginal.
Newham said the DA’s and newcomer Economic Freedom Fighters’ brand of politics had not gained traction with the voters.
“They are unlikely on their own to grow drastically to have a majority in the next national election in 2019‚” Newham said.
He said the DA’s growth was in the urban areas and it did not perform as well and lost some ground in the rural areas.
Newham said the DA might be close to reaching its limits in getting more voters.
He did not see the DA growing drastically in three years or expanding its rural reach.