'Grants are ANC's ace card in polls'

When voters chose their parties on May 8, it's likely that personal issues, such as grants and RDP houses, will have a major bearing.
When voters chose their parties on May 8, it's likely that personal issues, such as grants and RDP houses, will have a major bearing.

Most South African social grant recipients do not believe that the opposition parties would not take away their government grants.

And this could influence who they vote for, come May 8's general elections.

This is according to a study by the Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), which will be released tomorrow.

The findings are contained in its second survey on voting behavior titled: "The 2019 elections: Socioeconomic performance and voter preferences".

The research was conducted by politics professors Leila Patel, CSDA and Yolanda Sadie, in partnership with the university's department of politics (UJ), and Megan Breyer from the centre.

Patel told Sowetan that in their study, the percentage of grant beneficiaries preferring the ANC was at 73% versus 27% for the opposition.

"The fear of losing one's grant if a person chooses an opposition party is highly significant in explaining voter choices," Patel said.

She said their survey found that people thought they would lose a grant, and thus were less likely to vote for an opposition party.

The findings mirror those of their initial study released last year, Patel said.

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said the findings of the study were not a surprise.

"It does not surprise me and it works very well for the ANC, that's why we haven't seen the ANC going all out to correct that," Mathekga said.

He said it was up to the opposition parties to go out there and educate voters that it's the responsibility of the state not the ANC to pay grants.

"That's why now you see political parties such as the EFF making claims that it would double the social grants should it get into power," Mathekga said.

Patel said their sample was nationally representative as it consisted of 3,431 respondents who were eligible voters.

The research was conducted between November and December last year to understand why people choose one party over another.

It also looked into what really influences voter preferences, and if there were any voter perceptions about land reform, governance, corruption and President Cyril Ramaphosa, among others.

Full findings will be publicly released tomorrow at a briefing at the University of Johannesburg, in Auckland Park.

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