A nationwide survey has found that support for the African National Congress has dropped below 50 percent.
The findings suggest that the ruling party's support is shrinking and that in May 2017, less than half of South Africans (47 percent) indicated that they would vote for the party if there were an election the next day.
Market and opinion research specialist, Ipsos, conducted the survey between April and May this year, interviewing almost 4000 South Africans from both metropolitan and rural areas.
Of those interviewed, 47 percent said they would vote for the ANC, 21 percent the Democratic Alliance, and 5 percent the Economic Freedom Fighters.
The rest, which makes up one quarter of the interviewed group, said they would either vote for other parties, would not vote or did not know who to vote for.
"This figure should, however, not be regarded as a prediction of the 2019 general election -- it is simply too long before the time to start making predictions," Ipsos said in a statement.
In the 2014 elections, the ANC won 62 percent of the votes and in the local government elections in 2016, 54 percent of votes were cast for the party.
At the time of last year's local elections, 26.3 million of the 36.8 million South Africans eligible to vote were registered with the Independent Electoral Commission as voters but only 15,3 million turned up to cast their ballot.
"It is clear that political parties have a lot to do all over the country to convince voters to support them -- and to turn out to vote in 2019," Ipsos said.
If the ANC dips below 50 percent of the vote in 2019, the party may be forced into a coalition government, which will bring along a new set of problems for the party.
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