Legislature Leader Bobby Stevenson, taking part in a beach clean-up
Legislature Leader Bobby Stevenson, middle, joined DA members from his constituency recently in a beach clean-up in Port Elizabeth.

The recent survey conducted by Ipsos Markinor in relation of the approval rating of provincial premiers brings to mind that famous quote from Charles Dickens in A tale of two cities:  “it is the best of times; it is the worst of times”.

The Premier of the Eastern Cape, Noxolo Kiviet, was given a 30 % approval rating whereas the Premier for the Western Cape, Helen Zille, was given a 61 % approval rating.  This is down from 33% last year as far as the Eastern Cape is concerned,  and where the provincial government as a whole received only 37 % approval rating.

These figures illustrate that Premier Zille’s approval rating is substantially higher than the percentage of votes cast for the Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape.  In contrast to this, Premier Kiviet’s approval rating is less than half of the provincial votes cast for the African National Congress in the last general election.What this suggests is that ANC supporters in the Western Cape approve of Zille’s style of administration whereas in the Eastern Cape they largely reject the administration headed by Noxolo Kiviet.

This would suggest the DA is on an upward trajectory in the Western Cape and the ANC is on a downward trajectory in the Eastern Cape.  This follows the trend of the last general election where the ANC in the Eastern Cape support declined by nine seats out of 63 in the Provincial Legislature.

The approval rating of a Premier can be seen to some extent as a referendum of voters’ faith in that administration.  The poor service delivery in the Eastern Cape has obviously cost Kiviet support in this survey.  She cannot be made the scapegoat for a failing administration rather the ANC as a whole must take full responsibility.

The coming municipal elections provide voters with the opportunity to send a powerful message.  A substantial increase in support of the opposition is the best way to keep a government on its toes.  There are many municipalities within the opposition’s grasp in this province and this survey will certainly add momentum to the trends that were experienced in the last election.