Helen Zille rated as the best premier in South Africa

Western Cape premier Helen Zille has courted controversy in recent years thanks to her divisive comments on social media, however, many believe her to be the best provincial leader in the country.

This was one of the headline findings of a new Ipsos poll, assessing voter confidence in political leaders, including a review of how the provinces’ premiers have performed their duties over the last five years.

Looking at provincial leadership, registered voters were asked to rate both the performance of individual leaders, as well as the performance of the provincial government.

In both categories, the Western Cape came out on top, with 68% of voters saying that the province’s government has performed well in this past term, while 63% said that Helen Zille did her job very well.

Ipsos noted that four provincial governments, the Western Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng and the Free State received a ‘pass mark’ of more than 50% for handling their jobs ‘very/fairly well’.

However, only two premiers, namely Helen Zille and Sylvia Lucas, achieved a ‘pass mark’.

Phumulo Masualle of the Eastern Cape and Job Mokgoro of North West received especially low appreciation for the work they do, Ipsos said.

“In the case of Mokgoro, it could definitely not have been plain sailing to take over from Supra Mahumapelo, the previous NorthWest premier who was asked to vacate his post.”

Should the DA retain control of the Western Cape following the elections, Alan Winde is set to replace Helen Zille as premier following her two terms in that post.

Province Premier Province doing well Premier doing well
Western Cape Helen Zille 68 63
Northern Cape Sylvia Lucas 59 50
Gauteng David Makhura 57 48
Mpumalanga Refilwe Mtsweni 48 48
Free State Sisi Ntombela 52 47
Limpopo Stanley Mathabatha 45 43
KwaZulu Natal Willies Mchunu 46 41
Eastern Cape Phumulo Masualle 47 39
North West Job Mokgoro 41 28

National leaders

As part of the poll, voters were also tasked with scoring national leaders (major political figures across the three major parties) on a scale out of 10.

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa was rated the best, scoring 6.5/10 – with every other leader scoring very low.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane scored 3.5/10, which EFF leader Julius Malema scored the lowest at 3.4/10.

Notably, with speculation rife that deputy president David Mabuza might be replaced by Ramaphosa’s rival for party leadership, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, these two leaders were included in the poll.

Both Mabuza and Dlamini-Zuma fared better than the leaders of opposition parties, but the latter scored higher with 4.2/10, versus Mabuza’s 3.9/10.

# Leader Score (/10)
1 Cyril Ramaphosa 6.5
2 Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma 4.2
3 David Mabuza 3.9
4 Mmusi Maimane 3.5
5 Julius Malema 3.4

Read: South African election results: 2014 vs 2019 predictions

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Helen Zille rated as the best premier in South Africa