DA upbeat after poll gains

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Newly elected parliamentarian Phumzile van Damme hugs DA Leader Helen Zille at the IEC Election Results Centre in Pretoria. Picture: Chris Collingridge

Johannesburg - There’s no glass ceiling for the DA and the metros are the next focus, said party leader Helen Zille.

The party grew more than 30 percent nationally and more than 40 percent in Gauteng.

“The DA’s increase from 16.6 percent in 2009 to 22.2 percent in the 2014 election (a 33.7 percent increase) shows that we are growing across South Africa,” said Zille after about 98 percent of the election results had been captured.

“This election result is the result of years of planning and hard work,” she said.

“We are not known as the blue machine for nothing.”

Zille dismissed speculation that the DA had reached its “glass ceiling” and wouldn’t expand support among black South Africans.

“Roughly 760 000 black South Africans voted for the DA. This is more than the IFP, NFP, PAC and UCDP combined and more than any other party besides the ANC and EFF. Twenty percent of our votes in this election were cast by black South Africans,” she said.

“This result shows that people’s political attitudes are changing; that more and more, people are moving away from race as a voting determinant. That is encouraging for the future of our democracy.”

Zille called the party’s results in Gauteng “absolutely spectacular”, an increase from 22 percent of the vote in 2009 to 32.3 percent. “This is an increase of over 40 percent.”

Zille said the party would now focus on gaining support in the metros in the 2016 local government election – “we will be going all-out from Monday” – referring to the ANC’s “plunge” in the metros.

“ANC support has decreased significantly in some of the major metros,” she said.

The ANC got below 50 percent in the Nelson Mandela Metro (Port Elizabeth) “and is likely to end up below 54 percent in both Tshwane and the City of Johannesburg, putting all three of these municipalities in play for the 2016 local government elections.”


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