President Cyril Ramaphosa is winning white voters for the ANC.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is winning white voters for the ANC.

White voters could save the ANC from losing control of Gauteng, if the party's internal poll is to be believed.

The survey has uncovered a significant increase in the number of white voters who say they intend to vote, or are considering voting, for the party on May 8.

White voter support is at 8%, the highest ever for the party, according to Gauteng premier and party provincial chair David Makhura. In addition, 23% of whites polled said they there were considering voting for the ANC.

Party leaders attribute the results to President Cyril Ramaphosa's popularity.

"We have never had [such high support among white voters], even during the Mandela years," said Makhura.

He said the ANC's growing popularity among white voters had forced DA leader Mmusi Maimane to get "preoccupied with organising whites", the traditional voter base of the DA.

Gauteng is one of the provinces the opposition identified as within its grasp after the ANC lost control of Johannesburg and Tshwane in the 2016 local government elections. The increase in white support could push up the ANC's numbers.

The poll also confirmed that the ANC remains popular among the elderly, the less educated and lower-income earners in Gauteng.

The research said the party would retain control of Gauteng by getting more than 50% of the vote on May 8.

Image: Nolo Moima

The poll was conducted between November and December last year. More than 3,000 respondents participated.

News of the poll comes after the Institute of Race Relations released its own research, which indicated that the governing party would lose its majority in the country's economic hub and score just 41%.

The ANC's own poll puts it ahead of the opposition.

The poll found that the ANC was most popular among voters over the age of 60, with 67% supporting it, followed closely by people between the ages of 51 and 60, at 57%.

The poll also shows that the less-educated voter was more likely to vote for the ANC, which scored 75% support among those who went to school up to grade 7.

About 63% of those who attended secondary school said they would vote for the ANC. Only 29% of those with a post-matric qualification said they would.

Makhura said support among older voters had increased since previous elections - a signal that the party's traditional supporters were coming back to it, something he attributed to the "Ramaphosa factor".

When the ANC lost support in the province in the local government elections it attributed this to its voters staying away.

The poll shows that the party's greatest support is among blacks, 64% of whom back it, followed by Indians at 45% and coloureds at 33%.

The poll also shows that the majority of ANC voters earn less than R15,000. Those who earn more are less likely to vote for the party.

"The higher they earn, the less likely they will vote for us," said Lebogang Maile, the ANC's head of elections in Gauteng.

Political analyst Ebrahim Fakir said the ANC in Gauteng has always had the support of 54% to 55% of the region's voters - and everything will depend on the turnout.

"Voters are making up their minds now or have already … I think, made up their minds." He said people in Gauteng were not happy with the ANC for a variety of reasons.