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04 Dec 2008 10:21
A survey on how President Kgalema Motlanthe is faring since taking office produced an unusually high number of “I don’t know” responses, said the company which did the interviews.
Forty percent of the 2 000 people interviewed gave this as their reply when asked how they felt about his performance since taking over from Thabo Mbeki in September, said TNS Research Surveys on Thursday.
Motlanthe, who was sworn in as an MP earlier this year to help the ruling African National Congress (ANC) facilitate a smooth change in administration after next year’s election, was elevated to president when Mbeki was suddenly asked to resign by the party.
The survey showed a 36% approval rating for Motlanthe, who is also the deputy president of the ANC. It indicated that 24% of those interviewed did not think he was doing well in his new position.
“The high ‘don’t know’ response is of particular note as this usually lies at around 10% to 14%, it indicates that people are very uncertain as yet about the president’s performance,” a research note read.
A breakdown of those interviewed showed that 47% of black South Africans said he is faring well, 16% said he isn’t and 37% don’t know.
Only 13% of white South Africans say he is doing well, 42% believe he is not and 45% don’t know.
Of coloureds interviewed, 20% think he is doing a good job, 34% don’t and 46% don’t know.
The approval rating among Indians surveyed was 26%.
Thirty percent said he isn’t doing a good job and 43% said they don’t know.
The approval ratings also shifted before and after a convention organised by former ANC chairperson Mosiuoa Lekota to launch a new party on November 2.
Before November 2, 37% said he was doing a good job.
In addition, the percentage of people who said they don’t know if he is doing a good job rose from 40% to 42%.
“These results suggest that the events of November 2 have served to some extent to push black people, particularly, towards the ‘don’t know’ category, but that other race groups moved more solidly into a negative stance on this question.”
Approval levels are highest among those whose home language is isiZulu (49%) and SeSotho (51%), with Setswana speakers at 47% and isiXhosa speakers at 37%. - Sapa
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