South Africa’s Missing Middle Feels Neglected

The country’s black middle class is growing numerically – and growing politically restive.  But sluggish economic performance, coupled with a decade of state capture and the scorn former President Jacob Zuma felt towards “clever blacks”, has left the black middle class angry and wary. While 67% of black middle class voters do intend to vote, a third will stay at home on 8 May, cursing all political parties for failing to represent their interests, according to the survey. Chunks of the black middle class may vote, but far from enthusiastically. And a great many will not vote. Research says the ruling African National Congress has never been able to sustain a strong appeal to higher educated or higher income voters. The main opposition Democratic Alliance has now fallen back dramatically in these areas – the party is viewed as a “white” party, or a party in hock to white interests – and calculations makes it clear that the new firebrand Economic Freedom Fighters hold more appeal to black middle class voters. 


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