POLITICAL NEWS - The ANC in a statement says it has rejected “with contempt” a survey that, among other things, found that ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule may be the most unpopular politician in South Africa.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said the survey “purports to be a favourability rating instrument of political leaders”, but they saw it instead as “a notorious ploy to cast leaders they dislike in a negative light”.
The latest South African Citizen Survey (Sacs) findings suggested that President Cyril Ramaphosa remains generally popular, while Magashule emerged as the country’s least liked politician.
Magashule, who was not that popular to start with, saw an even further drop in favourability, making him only half as popular as Jacob Zuma at the time of his resignation.
Magashule had the lowest favourability among the ANC top brass, having declined from 16% in June to only 11% in July this year.
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema also saw a steady drop in favourability from a high of 30% in quarter four of 2018 to 25% in quarter two of 2019, putting him 1% lower than that of Zuma upon his resignation in the first quarter of 2018, when he was at 26%.
The data was collated in face-to-face interviews with a national sample of 3,900 respondents per quarter. Since 2015, over 60,000 interviews were conducted in English, Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Sotho, Sepedi, and Setswana.
The ANC slammed the research, saying Sacs appeared to “have some ulterior motives of lending credence to a known agenda of abusing experimentation for sheer academic credence and peddling of lies with divisive intentions”.
Mabe, who works closely with Magashule in the issuing of press statements, alleged that the research was “nothing but an insult to the intelligence of all peace-loving South Africans who despise hatred and embrace love for one another regardless of race, gender, creed and ideology”.
The ANC called on the people of South Africa to “unite and expose such formations hellbent on tarnishing the good image of our individual leaders hiding behind science”.
They said such research was an attempt to isolate Magashule and “further cast imaginary doubt on his abilities”.
However, the statement then changed tack to say that Magashule was not in “any popularity contest” anyway, since he’d been elected in 2017 by ANC delegates at Nasrec.
Magashule has regularly been linked to allegations of corruption, with links to the Gupta family and others, along with allegations of abuse of power, especially during his years as the Free State premier. This was examined in great detail in a bestselling book, Gangster State, which Magashule undertook to sue the author for, but he appears to have not yet done so.