According to DA leader Mmusi Maimane, although the party has made some losses during these elections, he says he will continue to show South Africans that his party is “the only alternative”.
For Maimane, South Africans are faced with a choice between “nationalism on one side” and the DA that stands for all South Africans on the other.
“Give us until 2021 and 2024. We can demonstrate that we can hold all South Africans together,” said Maimane.
Ahead of the pack is the African National Congress, which has so far garnered 57% of the counted votes. With only 17% of the 22,925 voting stations left to be counted, the current party positions on the results board are expected to stay put with only minor changes expected.
The election results are all but done, bar the tallying of the outstanding voting stations and the internal audit called for by the IEC for double voting.
For Maimane, who stood with DA Federal Chairperson James Selfe, former Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) mayor Athol Trollip and spokesperson Solly Malatsi, “in a universe where people go back to racial popularism the DA has stood firm for One South Africa For All”.
It has been reported that the rise of the Freedom Front Plus, which has so far received 329,302 votes, putting it at fifth place nationally, is the cause of the DA’s decrease in support from the 2014 elections where they reached 22.2% under the leadership of Helen Zille.
A further dent was made by the surprising upswell of Patricia De Lille’s Good party which has 62,592 votes, standing in ninth place.
Both FF+ and GOOD have been a thorn in the flesh of Maimane and their rise has been credited as a sign of his poor leadership of the DA.
Maimane says that populism was the reason for Angela Merkel to step down as Chancellor of Germany although she had brought in good governance during her leadership of the country.
For Trollip, the DA’s performance is not an indictment on Maimane’s leadership, as it is being reported on social media. “He led a team and we take full responsibility,” said Trollip.
Trollip went on to say that Maimane had been elected leader of the party until 2021 and he will continue to lead. And during that time, the DA will take more cities in the local government elections and take back NMB.
“He has my support,” said Trollip.
According to Maimane, there is a global rise in nationalism and the parties who stand for this ideology, have been rewarded. The DA, on the other hand, will continue to work hard to realign politics “to hold the centre”, said Maimane.
He says the party has made significant gains in places like Soweto: In previous elections, they would get 5% but now stand at an average of 13%.
“Now that tells me that we can grow in Soweto like we grow in Sandton,” said Maimane.
He went on to acknowledge that it has been a “tough” election but the party has been able to retain the Western Cape and is currently challenging the ANC in Gauteng, where the ruling government is flirting to and fro with the 50% mark for control of the legislature.
“The fact is that people are working together,” said Maimane.
As the only alternative, Maimane says the DA has been reported by the Economist as having the best economic policy offer and has reduced unemployment in the places where it governs.
However, he is concerned about the reports of double voting, the removable ink and polls not having enough ballots. His party has asked for an internal audit of the elections and says the Electoral Commission has been hosting elections long enough to avoid such mistakes.
And as an act of concession Maimane congratulated President Cyril Ramaphosa for running a tough election campaign. He further advised him to have a market-based economy.
“This is about the future of this country,” said Maimane.
He says that his party leadership has “complete trust” in him and he is now focused on growing the DA. DM