A new survey shows that president Jacob Zuma’s approval rating has dropped by as much as 28% – from 64% in 2011 to 36% in 2015.
The president’s approval rating is at its lowest level since 2000, according to the survey, published by research firm Afrobarometer.
“2015 has been a tumultuous year for South Africa’s democracy. A number of key government officials have been embroiled in corruption scandals, most notably the alleged mismanagement of state funds in the construction of President Jacob Zuma’s private residence in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal,” the research group said.
The Afrobarometer team in South Africa, led by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) and Plus 94 Research, interviewed 2,400 adult South Africans in August-September 2015.
Approval of President Zuma’s performance almost halved between 2011 (64%) and 2015 (36%) and is now well below the presidential average since 2000 (55%).
“This is the first time that a majority of South Africans have expressed outright disapproval of a president’s performance (62%) since the initial Afrobarometer survey in 2000,” researchers said.
On average across years, 63% of South Africans approved of former President Thabo Mbeki’s performance between 2000 and 2006, compared to a 2011-2015 average of 50% for President Zuma.
Furthermore, approval ratings increased significantly over Mbeki’s tenure, from 51% in 2000 to 77% in 2006.
President Zuma and local government councillors receive the lowest approval ratings (only 36% of respondents “approve” or “strongly approve”), followed by MPs (42%), while provincial leaders enjoy the highest levels (53%).
The 72 year old Zuma became president of the country in 2009 and is currently serving out his second term in office, which will last until 2019.
Of 2,400 respondents to the survey, 78% feel that South Africa’s presidential term should be limited to two terms.