South Africa


Western Cape results: DA holds eight wards, but gets a wake-up call with dip in support

Illustrative image | sources: Gallo Images / Alet Pretorius| Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images |
By Suné Payne
12 Nov 2020 16

By-election results coming out of the Western Cape show the Democratic Alliance retaining eight wards but losing one to the GOOD party. The DA has seen a loss of support in several areas.

Democratic Alliance leader in the Western Cape, Bonginkosi Madikizela, says the party needs to pull up its socks following its losses during the Super Wednesday by-elections on 11 November.

“We need to get our house in order,” said Madikizela, speaking to Daily Maverick after the release of preliminary results from the 11 by-elections in the Western Cape. 

While there was a concern regarding the drop in support, the DA provincial leader was optimistic about the party’s growth in Philippi. 

The by-elections results as of 11am on Thursday, 11 November, can be seen here

According to the Independent Electoral Commission, the DA retained eight wards out of 11 in the Western Cape. 

The ANC retained two wards in Philippi and Langa in Cape Town, while GOOD gained a ward for the first time in its young life. The ward, in George, had been won by the DA in the 2016 local elections. 

The DA losses are plain to see: 

  • In  Knysna’s ward 9, the party saw a drop from 93,39% to 76,07%.
  • In Saldanha Bay’s ward 13, where the councillor resigned from the DA  to join GOOD, the DA won the ward – but the party’s support dropped from 71, 50% support in 2016 to 44,62% in this by-election. 
  • In Drakenstein’s ward 3, support for the DA dropped from 84,38% to 68, 38%. 

Madikizela attributes some of these losses to two things – people were still cautious about Covid-19 and “people are not very enthused about elections”. 

The by-elections saw a 37% drop in voter turnout nationally.

Madikizela said the Western Cape result was a warning to the DA from voters, and there was a need to now listen to them. 

In Knysna, recently visited by Daily Maverick, the DA retained two wards despite two well-known candidates standing in opposition.

Read in Daily Maverick: Knysna candidates square up for key tussle

The DA retained both wards and now has 10 seats on the council. 

DA constituency head Dr Deon George told Daily Maverick the party would approach its initial coalition partner, the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), to regain control of the Knysna council. 

Before this by-election, the ANC was in a coalition with COPE and local party Knysna Unity Congress (KUC) to control the municipality. 

George told Daily Maverick he was happy with the outcome and that the hard work starts now to “return to governance” in the municipality. 

“We congratulate all our candidates – true sons and daughters of their communities – for the honourable and dignified campaigns they fought,” said GOOD’s national organiser Shaun August in a statement on Thursday morning. 

“In particular, we congratulate Richard Hector, our councillor representing the people of Ward 27 (Pacaltsdorp) in George.”  

The ANC’s Western Cape convener, Lerumo Kalako, said the party was encouraged by the two wards it retained in Cape Town. 

“[We] believe that we will radically improve on our results from the 2016 local elections in next year’s local government elections.

“There will be no easy ride to 2021 for the rightwing DA. The DA is not unbeatable in the Western Cape. We saw yesterday that voters are deserting the DA,” the ANC said in a statement. 

Formal results were due to be released by the Independent Electoral Commission later on Thursday. DM


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All Comments 16

  • It is perhaps too early to be sure but is this the effect of the return of Ms Zille, the member for Senekal?

    Like that affair at Brackenfell, I feel that the DA is now a private party and the likes of me are not welcome

  • I see the ANC won ward 14 in Makana. How ANY ANC member can win ANY wards in that place is beyond me. Once the electorate learns the purpose of its vote, and starts electing people based on their ability to do the job, rather than their ability to swank around and make noise, we will take the first steps towards democracy.

  • To have elections now was does not give a true representational result.
    In my opinion this election is meaningless but could not be delayed even for Covid

  • In my opinion the return of Ms Zille is an absolute disaster for the DA . Maybe she did fantastic things in the past but the past is the past and it is time for her to ride off into the sunset as she is liability . The DA under Steenhuisen has to reinvent itself and offer something substantial to the entire spectrum of our population otherwise the EFF racists will prevail .

  • The turnout in many of the wards were alarmingly low, certainly well down on 2016 levels. But what should be concerning for the DA, is that their supporters generally do vote at municipal election. That means that the losses that they suffered, are actually much worse than indicated. I am afraid the DA is going to fail miserably in the 2021 municipal elections, and the loss of many municipalities in the Western Cape (and JHB, Pta, and PE) is on the cards. Scary to me, is the dramatic growth of the EFF in wards where they competed.

  • The DA needs to catch a wake up. Much as I like Ms Zille, I think the DA has shot themselves in the foot by keeping her on in a prominent position.

    • What is it that you have against the DA? They can run a province efficiently – just look at the Auditor General’s reports year after year. Look how much better they have dealt with Covid-19 compared to the other provinces. I agree that Helen Zille has become an enormous electoral liability to the party but concentrate on the DA policies not on personalities that have passed their sell-by date. Like it or not, they are the only party in SA currently of running the country effectively.

  • Did anyone reading this actually vote in a by election??
    I am interested to the the actual numbers in the votes, not just the percentages. The IEC pdf doesn’t show that

  • Also, this is such bad reporting. The ‘by elections’ are not over and this article is worded in such a way as to give the impression to anyone not in the know (an overseas investor?) that they are complete and these are the results.
    Yet, there is another one on the 9 December 2020.

    On that note I recommend reading the bottom of this PDF for the reasons for holding the byelections in each ward and marvel at how many ‘Death of Councillor’ there is and also how many ‘Termination of Councillor Membership from Party”. It’s so bad that there it would seem there is a higher chance dying from being a councillor than with Covid19.