National

One in four youths would support Malema party

Khuthala Nandipha

About 26% of young South Africans believe former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema would do more to help the poor than other political parties.

More than a quarter of South African youths would support a Malema political party. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

A survey of 3 585 respondents aged 18 to 34 across South Africa, conducted by consumer insights company Pondering Panda, shows more than one in four young South Africans would vote for a political party led by Malema. 

The respondents believed Malema would do well in service delivery, housing provision and education and 15% thought he would create more jobs.

Earlier this month, Malema formed a new political platform called Economic Freedom Fighters which will organise consultative forums across the country.

The expelled ANC Youth League leader claimed the group would create radical change, while the current political system would only result in entrenching poverty.

He is currently facing corruption charges for allegedly manipulating government tenders in Limpopo.

Political analyst Dr Somadoda Fikeni said the findings of the survey were interesting, given that normally a person's popularity diminishes once they were no longer part of the ANC brand.

"However, making sure that he gets the actual votes will depend on his available resources countrywide and the financial support he gets from the corporate sector," he said.

Disillusioned youth
Fikeni cited current United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa as an example of a politician who was very popular during his reign at the ANC. He subsequently made the mistake of thinking his supporters would follow him to UDM.

"However, given the current economic hardships, it is easy to understand why young people would be excited about the radical option that Malema proposes. The youth has no faith in the current system," he added.

He warned that promises of proper service delivery would depend on the infrastructure Malema had at his disposal and placement of branches across the country.

Shirley Wakefield, of Pondering Panda, agreed with Fikeni's notion that young people were dissatisfied with the ANC and hence saw Malema as a viable alternative. "A lot of the respondents are dissatisfied with the ANC, with 68% feeling that the party had not kept the promises they made in the last election," she said. 

However, the survey showed that at least 35% of respondents would still vote for the ANC, 15% for the DA, 14% would not vote, 6% would vote for other parties and 4% were unsure of how they would cast their ballot.

Malema's strongest support (45%) came from his home province Limpopo as well as the North West and the Free State.

"These figures show that even under ANC rule, many young people feel their lives have not improved as they expected. They believe that the ruling party is not doing enough to lift people out of poverty, and that Malema would do more for South Africa's poor, if elected", she added.

All responses were weighted to be nationally representative in terms of age, gender and race.


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