Democracy Governance and Service Delivery
The Democracy Governance and Service Delivery research programme has launched the longitudinal study, South African Social Attitudes Survey (SASAS). This is a survey on opinion among the South African population covering topics on a wide range of social matters such as communications, politics, education, unemployment, and the problems of the aged and inter-group relations.
Speculation is rife that the ruling party has lost some of its appeal among South Africans, many of whom have grown frustrated with waiting for the promises of a "better life for all". According to some analysts, disillusionment with the ANC has gradually been building over the past few years, with people generally feeling that the ruling party is out of touch with the hardships of ordinary citizens. As a result, analysts have ventured that alignment or “feelings of closeness” to the ruling party has been diminishing. In this article, Jare Struwig, Stephen Gordon and Benjamin Roberts explore alignment with the ruling party over time and also how it compares with other parties.
Despite dissatisfaction with the performance of elected representatives, on balance, South Africans retain confidence in the ability of the democratic system to deliver improvements to their lives and circumstances.
Going into the 2016 Local Government Elections it is clear that voter's alignment, identification or "feelings of closeness" to the party of choice among ANC and DA voter have not shifted dramatically over the past seven years. However, there is evidence that “feelings of closeness” have gradually declined among both ANC and DA supporters. In contrast, "feelings of closeness’’ among supporters of the EFF is much higher compared to supporters of the DA and ANC. Supporters of the EFF therefore align and identify much stronger with the party than DA and ANC supporters. Although it is not in the ambit of this article to speculate about the implications of these findings, research has shown that close alignment with a party of choice impacts on voting intention. Voters that feel more aligned or “close” to a party are much more inclined to cast a ballot in support of their party of choice. Voter turnout during the 2016 Local Government Elections will be closely monitored to determine if this was the case.
Professor Peter Alexander from UJ has been offered the first Honorary Research Fellow position in the Democracy and Governance and Service Delivery programme
South Africa is burning. Literally. The upcoming local government elections threaten to provoke even more widespread violence. Despite being a constitutional democracy, citizens and residents feel that their voices are not being heard and the dire economic situation facing ordinary people is escalating tensions. We need leaders to step up and enter into a Constitutional Dialogue that renews our commitment to a non-racist, non-sexist society where life has improved for all.