With the South African municipal elections due to be held next week on 1 November, all attention has been on municipal politics for some time now. The burning question is – will South Africans seize the opportunity to make their voices heard? We did some research to find the answer.
South Africans are hungry for change
According to our data, and a recent online survey completed on the topic (amongst our online panel of South African adults), South Africans are hungry for change and are wanting to see a different political representation to what is currently in place at a municipal level. Only 21% want to see the current party retain its leadership position in their ward/region, while 44% are hoping that a different party will take up the reins in their ward¹.
13% are hoping that an independent candidate will win, and 22% are hoping that a newly established party will succeed in taking over. These results signal definite opportunities for new parties and independents to rise to the top and show South Africans what they / their parties are capable of¹.
But will South Africans go and vote, and will they vote accordingly?
The 2016 municipal elections saw voter turnout at 58%. As we head to voting stations on 1 November, 68% of the respondents say they are definitely going to vote, 21% are unsure if they will vote, and 11% are definitely not going to vote².
While the desire for change is high, 34% of respondents say that they will be voting for the same party they have always vote for. Just over a third will be changing their vote and voting for a different party. And 20% have yet to decide who they will be voting for³.
To summarise, a fifth of respondents are undecided about whether they will vote at all, and many are still unsure as to where they will place their ‘X’.
Voting is crucial if you want change
While we noted some apathy around voting in the past, South Africans do seem to be optimistic about the power and possibility for improvement that elections can bring. 56% feel that it is important to exercise their right to vote, and 28% feel that they are voting in this election with the hope for change and better run municipalities4.
When it comes to the more apathetic attitudes around voting, we see very low percentages4:
- 4% don’t care about municipal elections
- 7% don’t feel it will make a difference
- 4% feel that all parties are mostly the same, so it doesn’t matter who you vote for
With South Africans exhibiting positive attitudes towards voting and a desire for change, will this election effectively reflect the change that the public are saying they want?