Favoured candidate to lead the ANC emerges as Zuma’s approval tanks to an all-time low

President Jacob Zuma’s popularity has hit an all-time low, while deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has emerged as the country’s favoured candidate to replace him, a new survey shows.

The survey, run by global research firm Kantar TNS, showed that Zuma’s performance approval rating dropped below 20% to a new low of 18% in August 2017.

The poll of 2,000 demographically representative individuals in seven major metros showed that only 18% of respondents felt that Zuma is doing a good job as president of the country – down from 52% seen at the start of his term in April 2009, and the high of 58% seen at the end of that year.

In contrast, 75% of people living in metropolitan areas disagreed that Zuma is doing a good job as president, an increase of 4% since March 2017, Kantar said.

“The shift in ratings continues to head downward primarily due to worsening perceptions among black and coloured respondents – with 68% of black respondents disagreeing that Zuma is doing a good job as President ‒ rising from 64% to 68% in March this year and 59% in February last year,” the group said.

“96% of Coloured respondents disagreed (that Zuma was doing a good job), rising from 89% to 96% in March this year.”


According to Kantar, there is a persistent feeling of pessimism in South Africa, with 71% of metro South Africans believing things have gotten worse in country in the past year, compared to 14% who think things are much the same and 11% who feel things are getting better.

Most favoured candidate to lead the ANC

Looking ahead to the ANC’s elective conference in December, Kantar polled people on who they most favoured to take over from Zuma as president.

Respondents were asked ‘to what extent they would support’ certain candidates to be the President of the ANC.  The list of candidates was made up of those ANC members who have indicated their willingness to stand for election.

Overall, Cyril Ramaphosa is the most popular candidate with 36% of all respondents supporting him (irrespective of political affiliation), followed by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at 19% and Lindiwe Sisulu at 16%.

Read: South Africans have had it: Zuma’s approval rating sinks to an all-time low

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Favoured candidate to lead the ANC emerges as Zuma’s approval tanks to an all-time low