Public sector strike dents Zuma's support
Johannesburg - A lengthy strike by 1.3 million state workers caused a sharp drop in support for President Jacob Zuma, a survey said on Thursday.
More South Africans in urban areas disapprove of the Zuma government for the first time in his 18-month-old presidency, according to the poll released by TNS Research Surveys.
Analysts said Zuma risks a weak presidency for the rest of his five year term unless he can tackle worries about growing cronyism, massive unemployment and anger among poor blacks waiting for the electricity, running water and better schools promised by the government.
The nearly month-long state workers' strike closed schools, delayed treatment at hospitals and hit hard the country's poor who rely on government services.
"Since late August and early September, we were in the throes of that public servants' strike. That was quite damaging because it lasted a long time and was quite violent," said Neil Higgs, director of innovation at TNS who compiled the poll.
"One thing that we find in these surveys is that people are far more critical when it affects their personal lives."
Zuma's overall support stood at 43% for the quarter ending in September, down 15% from the previous quarter, marking the sharpest drop of any president in a TNS survey conducted every quarter over the past 15 years.
The survey also showed the sharp racial divides in South Africa that persist 16 years after the end of apartheid, with Zuma's support among blacks at 54%, while it was at 17% among whites.
The next major test for Zuma and his ruling African National Congress comes in the first half of next year when local elections are held nationwide. Any setback could deal another blow to his leadership.
The survey was conducted among 2 000 adults in the seven major urban areas and has a margin of error of under 2.5%.
I am one person also, who stopped supporting the JZ leadership. Most govt. departments are underperforming, senior officials are getting away with it, only earning huge salaries for nothing. I agree with the SADTU president, when he said, the only thing they are interested in, is corruption and tenders.Now recently, ministers are signing the performance agreement but what I realised ANC is good in talking but come implementation, they fail. What kind of govt. do SA have? Sowetan on 13 Oct. 2010 published a statement from a DA member where they are calling upon SCOPA to summon the MEC for Public Works in Limpopo to explain what he is doing with officials who are undperforming, since well the Dept qualified for 3 consecutive years in terms of audit, as for me I would say they should be charged. This is a good example,that JZ govt. is failing us. The only people who feel the pain are voters at the grassroots level. Poverty escalates, education culture detoriarates, but at the end of the day employees are to take the blame. Whom do u think can perform excellently with peanuts salaries they receive. I suggest oopposition parties should unite to look into this matter and bring the corrupt leadership down.