Support for Malema is on the wane, poll suggests

The ANC Youth League’s firebrand leader Julius Malema has seen his support slip in South Africa’s biggest cities, an opinion poll showed on Thursday.

Malema has unnerved investors with his calls to nationalise mines and seize white-owned farms. He declared “economic war” on the country’s white minority, who still dominates Africa’s most powerful economy 17 years after apartheid ended.

His popularity has declined from 27% support in 2009 to 17% this year, the survey of about 2 000 people in seven major areas released by TNS Survey Results showed.

Malema is fighting for his political future and faces a disciplinary hearing next month by the ANC on charges of bringing the ruling party into disrepute.

If found guilty, he could be suspended or expelled from the party that dominates the political landscape.

He is facing a separate investigation into his finances, including allegations he kept a slush fund to pay for his expensive lifestyle.

“The results show that a lack of support for what he says and does is evinced by 71%, the same as last year but well up from 56% seen in 2009,” a TNS statement said.

Malema (30) was named as one of the most powerful young men in Africa by Forbes magazine. His power comes from his support among the poor black majority who have rallied around his calls for massive economic redistribution and see him as a future leader of the country.

Malema has been courted by foes of President Jacob Zuma to help them in their bids for power ahead of an ANC meeting next year when it elects its leaders. — Reuters

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