'ANC faces an uphill battle'

An analyst says President Jacob Zuma’s popularity dip will pose a major challenge for the ruling party.

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - A political analyst says the recent negative publicity on President Jacob Zuma may be a major problem for the ANC in the upcoming general elections.

The Sunday Times reported that pressure is mounting on Zuma to step down despite Madiba's passing which seems to have moved positive sentiments towards the party.

The paper's snap survey reveals that one in two of registered ANC voters believe that Zuma should resign as a result of the Nkandla debacle.

While 34 percent of those polled said they were less likely to vote for the party in the upcoming general elections because of their feelings about Zuma.

Last week, Zuma was booed at the FNB Stadium during a memorial service for the former statesman.

The ruling party has since threatened to deal with those who booed Zuma.

Political analyst Professor Mzwamadoda Fikeni told the Redi Tlhabi Show that Zuma's popularity dip is bad news for the party.

"I do think that it's a massive problem because this is the leader who has to be the face of the election campaign process. And therefore they have to rally around him and if there's a reputational risk that has a knockoff effect on the electoral support."

Fikeni believes the ruling party may have lost its trump card.

"And also with the icon like Madiba gone, who used to be one trump card that the ANC used from time to time, and he's gone now at a time when so many reflections on what he meant and what his leadership was like, a contradistinction is almost irresistible. That in itself has to worry the ANC."

He says the ruling party no longer has the same resources at its disposal.

"In the past, you had organisations like Cosatu and you also had a youth league which was quite vibrant and could unleash its members to go and campaign everywhere else. So for that simple reason I think the ANC now has to depend on itself because these organisations are still experiencing some challenges."

Over 100 political parties will contest the general elections in 2014.