The Democratic Alliance came in at 20,77%, down from 22,23% in 2014.
William Gumede of the Wits School of Governance doesn’t mince his words about how the party conducted itself in the run-up to the elections.
“The DA campaign was terrible – it was actually appalling,” he says. They didn’t focus on the right issues, in stark comparison to Ramaphosa’s campaign, and “they looked a bit childish”.
They’ve also completely lost touch with rural voters. “Remember how they burnt e-toll statements outside Sanral and went to court about Ramaphosa’s cabinet reshuffle? If you’re in a rural area, does this make any sense to you?”
Gumede believes the party should’ve identified issues affecting all South Africans and then come up with ways to tackle them headon. They didn’t do that and “they have only themselves to blame”.
The DA has become “more black” now and is probably the most non-racial party in SA, Gumede adds – far more so than the ANC.
“So, the ‘blackening’ of the DA is scary for more conservative white people because they’re not happy with the transition of the DA under [leader] Mmusi Maimane.”
Gumede doesn’t think it’s a bad thing for the DA or Maimane (ABOVE) because the party was always bound to evolve in this way.
“The big thing for the DA is to get the black vote in the future because that’s where the votes are in this country,” he adds.
And it didn’t help the DA that Jacob Zuma is no longer around for them to attack, Gumede says.
But the party needs to get real, he continues, pick an issue and run with it. The fact the DA didn’t address social grants, for instance, when it was one of their campaign issues was also problematic. “They should’ve tackled all the myths people have about the former white party and dealt with them publicly,” Gumede says.