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    Consumer insights company, KLA delves into voter sentiment ahead of the SA elections

    In 2024, a historic wave of elections is set to unfold globally, with voters in at least 64 countries, representing nearly half the world's population, gearing up to cast their ballots. The outcomes of these elections will significantly shape the global landscape for years to come. (Source: Time, 28 December 2023)

    South Africa's upcoming election heralds a critical juncture, as major political shifts challenge decades of single-party dominance by the ANC since 1994 and its predecessor, the National Party. Should the ANC fail to secure a majority, the country could witness its inaugural national coalition government.

    With the countdown to the elections, consumer insights company, KLA couldn't resist immersing itself in the buzz, engaging directly with people on the ground to capture the genuine mood of the moment.

    We tapped into our YourView panel, a community of 120,000 voices, and conducted three polls among residents of Gauteng, KZN, and the Western Cape, each with its distinct political landscape.

    Despite South Africa's economic challenges and frequent discussions at dinner parties revolving around issues like traffic congestion or the absence of running water during water shedding, and the ever-present potholes, there's a glimmer of hope. It appears that, as voters, we still maintain a significant level of faith in our democracy.

    When questioned about their confidence in the upcoming 29 May national election being free and fair, 63% of residents across the three provinces somewhat or strongly agreed, while 15% remained neutral.

    Durban and KZN residents emerged as the most optimistic, with 66% believing in the fairness of the election, while the Western Cape was the least optimistic, with only 55% sharing this sentiment. Gauteng fell in the middle, with 64% expressing trust in the democratic process.

    Consumer insights company, KLA delves into voter sentiment ahead of the SA elections

    The party or parties assuming power will confront substantial challenges. According to our YourView poll, 43% of citizens consider unemployment the most pressing issue, followed by load shedding at 23%, and crime at 15%.

    According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey Q4 2023 by Stats SA, the national official unemployment rate stands at 32.1%, with Gauteng reporting the highest rate at 33.6%, followed by KZN at 29.3%, and the Western Cape at 20.3%.

    Given the unprecedented levels of load shedding experienced in 2023, it's not surprising that this issue is top of mind for many South Africans. In Gauteng, 27% of residents expressed the strongest sentiment regarding the need to address load shedding, while in KZN and the Western Cape, this figure stood at 17% and 16% respectively.

    Crime also remains a significant concern for South Africans. Twenty-seven percent of Western Cape residents reported it as the most important local issue to be tackled, with 17% of KZN residents sharing this view.

    The Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, and Gauteng lead the country in per capita murder rates, according to the Institute for Security Studies (Published on 14 November 2023), with these provinces also witnessing the highest increases in murder rates since 2011/12.

    Consumer insights company, KLA delves into voter sentiment ahead of the SA elections

    Corruption is another prominent topic, with scandals making daily headlines even in long-established democracies like the USA and UK. Forty-seven percent of KwaZulu-Natal residents believe South Africa has the highest level of corruption, followed by Gauteng at 39% and the Western Cape at 37%.

    Consumer insights company, KLA delves into voter sentiment ahead of the SA elections

    As South Africa approaches the crucial 29 May elections, it's a moment to reflect on the enduring strength of its democracy. Despite facing numerous challenges regarding election list candidates and fledgling parties, the country has upheld key democratic principles such as free speech and press freedom, with no political opponents being imprisoned for their vocal opinions.

    The upcoming elections represent a pivotal moment in South Africa's democratic history, eagerly awaited by its citizens. For more information, visit www.kla.co.za

    Methodology:

    YourView Consumer Panel: YourView is maintained and administered by KLA, which provides research services and insights to numerous South African companies, including blue chip clients in the financial services, telecommunications and FMCG industries. This vibrant community of respondents can be used to answer quick polls as well as carry out more formal research where specific target markets or population quotas can be used.

    For the purposes of this article, where the aim of the article is a quick poll of mood temperature among South African citizens, we did not apply any randomisation for the sample or sample quotas.

    Data Collection: 2024/04/23 – 2024/04/25

    Population: No quotas applied with a natural fall-out across demographics across 3 Major Metropolitan areas in South Africa.

    Question 1: Do you believe the 29th May 2024 election will be free and fair? n=609
    Question 2: Which social issue do you believe should be the top priority for the next
    government? n=741
    Question 3: How do you place the levels of corruption in South Africa as compared
    to other countries? N=446

    Sources:

    • Stats SA, Quarterly Labour Force Survey Q4 2023
    • New Institute for Security Studies (ISS) policy brief, author and ISS Consultant David Bruce, published on 14 November 2023
    • IOL,11 December 2023

    About Candice Ulrich

    Candice Ulrich is managing consultant at KLA.
    KLA
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