KWAZULU-NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA – MAY 24: Residents cast their votes during the Nquthu bi-election at Springlake High School on May 24, 2017 in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The IEC, said preliminary statistics shows that 40% of the 81,000 registered voters cast their ballot in the Nquthu by-elections. The municipality was dissolved earlier this year due to political in-fighting. (Photo by Gallo Images / The Times / Thuli Dlamini)

A new South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) poll shows that the governing ANC’s support has increased ahead of the 2019 general elections, while the country’s two biggest opposition parties, the DA and EFF, have lost ground.

According to the poll results:

• the ANC’s support in December comes in at 56%, up from 52% in September;

• the DA’s support has declined to 18 % from 23% in September; and

• the EFF is on 11%, down from 13% in September.

Gareth van Onselen, head of politics and governance at the SAIRR, has emphasised that the poll is not a prediction, but is rather “a snapshot in time” of the electorate between 26 November and 4 December, 2018.

The poll was conducted among 1 017 registered voters and according to the SAIRR, was “fully demographically representative”.

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A significant finding is the impact of lower voter turnout at the polls. According to the SAIRR, a lower turnout compared to 2014 is expected because of South Africa’s maturing democracy and high levels of voter discontent, which in turn drives up apathy.

In 2014, the voter turnout was 73,5% and the expectation is that it will be lower next year.

In the case of a lower turnout, the ANC and the DA will benefit, while the EFF will remain largely stable compared to current levels of support.

According to a scenario with a voter turnout of 69%:

• the ANC comes in at 59% (down from 62% in 2014);

• the DA will receive 22% of votes (stable compared to 22% in 2014); and

• the EFF will improve to 10% from 6% in 2014.

This is a developing story.

– News24