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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.

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