Most blacks in cities still approve of Thabo Mbeki

Waghied Misbach

Waghied Misbach

Blacks in South Africa's metros and across black language groups believe President Thabo Mbeki is doing a good job as head of government.

While Mbeki's average has dropped overall this year to 56 percent - from last year's 61 percent and 58 percent for 2004 - he still has the approval of black people. His highest ever overall average of 66 percent was recorded in April last year, according to Neil Higgens, from Research Surveys.

The survey was conducted in seven metros in face-to-face interviews with all ethnic groups. A total of 2000 adults took part - 1260 blacks, 385 whites, 240 coloureds and 115 Indians-Asians. The margin of error is 2,5percent.

Higgens said a number of factors could have contributed to the drop, including HIV and Aids, crime and Jacob Zuma's growing support.

Mbeki scored the highest among black females at 72 percent, though this was a drop from 79 percent in April. A total of 66 percent of black males thought Mbeki was doing a good job.

The score among whites has been consistently in the mid-30's percentage-wise until the year's end, when it dropped to 26 percent. The coloured sample has largely been consistent this year but dropped considerably to 31 percent in November. The Indians-Asians sample shows higher volatility, but ended the year on a relatively low 35 percent, said Higgens.

A total of 69 percent of blacks in the metros approved of Mbeki. In Gauteng, 69 percent approved of the way the president is doing his job; in Johannesburg and environs, 71 percent; Johannesburg - excluding Soweto - 77 percent; Soweto 63 percent; East Rand 69 percent; West Rand 76 percent; Vaal and South Rand 76 percent; Pretoria 59 percent; Cape Town 77 percent; Durban 58 percent; Eastern Cape 82 percent; Port Elizabeth 83 percent; East London 80 percent; Bloemfontein 80 percent.

Mbeki's approval rating was fairly consistent across all black language groups.

Zulu speakers generally 64 percent, Zulu speakers in Durban 58 percent; Sotho speakers 68 percent; Tswana speakers 69 percent; Xhosa speakers 79 percent.

Durban figures for blacks show a substantial decline since April - 71 percent - but up from 49 percent in July, said Higgens.

Research Surveys, one of the largest marketing-research companies in the country, has been in existence for 27 years.