Premiers, Provinces, Personalities and the President

How many points out of ten would you give Cyril Ramaphosa as a political leader?  Registered voters feel that South Africa’s president currently deserves 6.5 points on this scale.

This is a very good score if we compare it with the scores of the leaders of the main opposition parties in the country:

  • Mmusi Maimane, DA leader is scored at 3.5 out of ten and
  • Julius Malema, EFF commander-in-chief is scored at 3.4 out of ten.


These are findings from the latest Pulse of the People™ survey, conducted by Ipsos during March and April 2019.  Interviews were conducted in the homes and home languages of randomly chosen respondents. (Please see the page titled “Technical Detail” at the end of this press release.)


Speculation is growing that the president might replace current deputy president David Mabuza after Wednesday’s general election and replace him with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Looking at the scores out of 10 of these two leaders, it is evident that the ex-wife of former president Zuma is more popular than the current deputy president among registered voters, but by a rather narrow margin:

  • Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma scores 4.2 as a political leader on this scale, while
  • David Mabuza’s score stands at 3.9.




Just over half of registered voters (54%) feel that the national government is doing its job “very well” or “fairly well”, whereas president Ramaphosa is seen to do his job very or fairly well by 62%.


There is definitely less appreciation for local authorities and less than half (49%) say that their municipality is doing its job very or fairly well – possibly part of the cause of the current widespread service delivery protests in the country.


Neither deputy president Mabuza nor the leader of the official opposition, Mmusi Maimane, is seen by the electorate to do a sterling job: just more than four in ten (43%) say that David Mabuza does his job very or fairly well and just less than four in ten (38%) say the same about the official opposition leader.


Premiers and Provinces


After the election, the president will also have to decide whether he wants to keep some of the incumbent premiers or replace all or some of them (depending on which provinces will be ruled by the ANC after the election). 


If the DA wins the election in Western Cape province outright, or has the controlling role in a possible coalition, Alan Winde, the DA’s candidate as premier, will replace Helen Zille.


The table below summarises the views of registered voters in each of the nine provinces about the premiers and the provincial government of the province.



The provincial government is doing its job very / fairly well




The premier is doing his / her job very / fairly well


Western Cape


Helen Zille


Northern Cape


Sylvia Lucas




David Makhura


Free State


Sisi Ntombela




Refilwe Mtsweni


Eastern Cape


Phumulo Masualle




Willies Mchunu




Stanley Mathabatha


North West


Job Mokgoro



The provincial government in the Western Cape and the Western Cape premier, Helen Zille, top these performance lists - as evaluated by the registered voters in each respective province. Four provincial governments, the Western Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng and the Free State get a “pass mark” of more than 50% for handling their jobs very/fairly well. 


On the side of the premiers only two, Helen Zille and Sylvia Lucas, achieve a “pass mark”. 

Overall, the provincial governments are faring better than the premiers. Phumulo Masualle of the Eastern Cape and Job Mokgoro of NorthWest received especially low appreciation for the work they do.  However, in the case of Mr Mokgoro, it could definitely not have been plain sailing to take over from Supra Mahumapelo, the previous NorthWest premier who was asked to vacate his post.




    • Fieldwork: 22 March – 17 April 2019
    • 3600 in-home F2F interviews. Conducted in home languages of randomly selected respondents.
    • Countrywide representation
    • Filtered results by 18 and older AND registered to vote.
    • Results weighted and projected to official published IEC registration figures
    • Margin of error for this subsample (0.9% - 2%) – based on sample size, response rate and sampling



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