Press Release
Ipsos survey performance rating of national government declines
Issued by: Ipsos  
[Johannesburg, 14 February 2013]

According to the latest poll by opinion and market research company, Ipsos, just over half of adult South Africans (52%) indicated that, in their view, the national government was performing “well”. Four provinces, namely the Western Cape, North West, Mpumalanga and the Free State, outperformed the national government when their performances were evaluated.

This is an important finding from the Ipsos “Pulse of the People” poll of 3 446 adult South Africans. Fieldwork was conducted between 26 October and 7 December 2012. In the poll, randomly selected respondents were asked how they evaluated the performance of various institutions and officials. The results are representative of the views of South Africans of voting age, ie 18 years and older.

Rating of the performance of the national government has dropped significantly since May 2012 when the previous evaluation was undertaken. “In May, this stood at 61%, which shows a marked decrease in public confidence that our government was doing a decent job in the latter part of the year,” comments Mari Harris, public affairs director and political analyst at Ipsos.

Performance of the provincial structures and premiers

In view of regular discussions and news reports of the efficiency of provincial structures, as well as opinions expressed about the number of provinces in South Africa, a brief look at the evaluation of the performance of provinces – as based on the first-hand experience of the voters living in each province – is relevant. “In most cases, the performance evaluation of the provincial government is closely tied to the performance rating of the premier,” states Harris.

This is the case in most of the provinces with the Free State and Mpumalanga as exceptions, where the premiers have significantly higher ratings than the provincial governments. Premier Ace Magashule of the Free State enjoys a 71% vote of approval compared to the 55% of the Free State provincial government. Mpumalanga’s provincial government has a 58% approval rate – third-highest in the rankings of provinces. However, the premier of Mpumalanga – David Mabuza – has achieved a much higher rating (71%) when citizens in Mpumalanga evaluated his performance as premier.

The Western Cape provincial government boasts the highest ratings of all nine provinces, with 63% of its residents saying the provincial authority is doing its job well. In addition, Western Cape premier, Helen Zille, is also one of the three premiers ranked highest, with almost seven out of every 10 voters living in the Western Cape saying she is doing her job well.


Both Limpopo and the Eastern Cape experienced problems in 2012, with different departments being placed under administration by the national government. It is clear from the ratings of the premiers and the provincial governments that more attention should be focused on these two provinces. Two other provincial governments, the Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, also need to improve their performances, as only half of the citizens in these provinces think they are doing their jobs well.

As the performance and efficiency of a provincial government seems to rely heavily on the leadership and performance of the premiers, it is important to look in more detail at the evaluation of the premiers’ performances. The graph below summarises the proportions of voters in each province who thought the premiers were doing well or were not doing well. It is clear that the three most effective premiers, David Mabuza, Ace Magashule and Helen Zille, receive negative feedback from less than three in every 10 in their provinces – regardless of the political party supported by these voters.

Technical aspects

* Fieldwork was carried out from 26 October to 7 December 2012 by trained and experienced fieldworkers
* Face-to-face, in-home interviews were conducted with a randomly chosen sample of South Africans, 15 years and older, in the language chosen by the respondent.
* Results of South Africans of voting age (ie 18+) were filtered out – this press release is based on the views of possible voters
* The results were weighted and projected to the universe
* The margin of error of the study is 1.67%



Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. In October 2011, Ipsos completed the acquisition of Synovate. The combination forms the world’s third-largest market research company.

With offices in 84 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specialisations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1.363 billion ($1.897 billion) in 2011.

Editorial contacts
Kate Slade
Communications Manager
(+27) 11 709 7800
Mari Harris
(+27) 11 709 7800

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