A poll conducted by South African research group, FutureFact, shows which potential future president South Africans would have the most confidence in.
According to the poll, which was drawn from a sample of 3,015 South African adults, a strong majority of citizens believe that the next president should be chosen by the people – and not appointed by a political party.
Given a list of potential candidates, two contenders rose to the top: deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, and former African Union chair, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Both candidates rose to the top with 22% of respondents saying they would outright vote for either of them to be president. However, the poll’s confidence metric showed that South Africans had more trust in Dlamini-Zuma than Ramaphosa.
Two thirds (67%) of respondents expressed some or complete confidence in Dlamini-Zuma, versus 61% for Ramaphosa.
Confidence in president Jacob Zuma has plummeted since he was elected in 2009, from a high of 258 (where 80% of South Africans had confidence in him) to -46.
The biggest confidence drop in Zuma was among black respondents – from 367 in 2009, to 48 at the end of 2015 (319 points) – though whites had the lowest confidence in Zuma overall, plunging to -247 in 2015 (dropping 295 points).
Other potential presidents for South Africa included ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe; speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete; DA leader Mmusi Maimane; and EFF leader Julius Malema.
According to the poll results, while Maimane was the next highest in terms of “choice for next president” with 9%, his confidence score was quite low at -51 as a result of the other 91% of respondents showing little confidence in the DA leader.
EFF leader Malema had the lowest overall confidence score at -161.
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A significant proportion (almost 40%) of South Africans either didn’t know which candidate they preferred or said that they didn’t want any of those on offer.
Contrary to the desires of those polled, the next president of the country will be appointed by the majority party who wins the next elections – which will likely be the ANC.
A few names have been tossed about for the party’s next leader (and probably president), including Ramaphosa, Dlamini-Zuma and Mbete. Party insiders have said that Dlamini-Zuma is Jacob Zuma’s favoured candidate, while Ramaphosa is seen as the front-runner for others within the party.
However, with the fallout of recent court rulings and scandals against the president – which have put the ANC in an awkward situation with it electorate – political experts have said that any candidate endorsed by the president is likely going to be skipped, to get away from his legacy.
“An endorsement from Zuma would be tantamount to a poisoned chalice,” an analyst said.