THE ANC has failed to erode the lead of the main opposition party in Pretoria and Johannesburg, three weeks before the nation holds local government elections, the latest eNCA public-opinion survey shows.

The ANC dropped a point to 25% in the Tshwane municipality, while the DA remained steady at 39%, according to the poll, which was compiled for the broadcaster by research company Ipsos. The EFF gained a point to 13%.

In Johannesburg the ANC had 31% backing, while the DA dropped one point to 35%, and the EFF rose by an equal margin to 13%.

The ANC did lift its support in a third key municipality that it controls, Nelson Mandela Bay, where it gained six percentage points in the past week to 27%, according to the poll, compared with 42% for the DA and 8% for the EFF.

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The poll is the sixth commissioned by eNCA that shows the ANC is facing a serious challenge to maintain control of the three municipalities.

ANC confidence

“What Ipsos is basically saying is we have lost the election,” Paul Mashatile, the chairman of the ANC in Gauteng, said in July 7 interview. “I’m not sure how they are doing their research. We are quite confident that in many of our municipalities” the ANC has 50% support or more.

The percentage of respondents who said they were undecided about who they would vote for was 16% in Johannesburg, 13% in Tshwane and 15% in Nelson Mandela Bay.

The August vote is being contested by 200 parties and 61,014 candidates. The ANC won control of 198 of the 278 municipalities, including seven of the country’s eight biggest metropolitan areas, in the last municipal elections in 2011. The DA secured an outright majority in 18 councils, including Cape Town, which was not covered by the eNCA poll.