Durban - DA leader Helen Zille said on Tuesday that people were wasting their ballots by voting for smaller parties.
Zille said this while on the campaign trail for Wednesday’s by-elections in ward 73 (Chatsworth) and ward 52 (Phoenix).
The wards became vacant when Minority Front councillors Ronnie Pillay and Bradley Singh defected to the DA in April.
The by-elections in these wards are two of seven in the province on Wednesday. Other by-elections include, Ward 18 (Westville, Pinetown and Cowies Hill) and 36 (Durban North), ward 4 in Dundee, ward 6 in KwaHlabisa and ward 22 in KwaDukuza (Stanger).
The DA leader, accompanied by the party’s national spokeswoman for police, Dianne Kohler Barnard, provincial leader Sizwe Mchunu and Singh and Pillay, was a shadow of her usual cheerful self on Tuesday, subdued and complaining of a “bad throat” after a recent visit to London.
Addressing about 80 DA supporters in Phoenix, Zille said: “We are the only party that has grown in every election since 1994, because people are realising that you really waste your vote by voting for a smaller party, because you can never get anything done as a single individual.
“That is why small parties held an important place in the early years of our democracy, but now thousands are realising that they waste their votes by voting for smaller parties.
“Over 300 000 people still in this election, voted for a party that did not get a single seat in the national Parliament… And if you vote for a party that didn’t even get one, then you must know that you might as well have stayed at home,” she said to loud applause.
“It is wonderful to see how many people are now realising that we must consolidate the vote and build a new majority around the DA.”
Zille said she was “cautiously optimistic” of victory in both wards. Her address to her Chatsworth supporters was briefly interrupted by passing ANC supporters, who chanted party songs. eThekwini Speaker, Logie Naidoo, later joined the group, in what appeared to be a reaction to Zille’s visit.
Naidoo said the ANC was “confident” they would clinch ward 73.
“We have been successful in beating the DA in Phoenix, and tomorrow, once again, the ANC is going to show the progress it has made,” he said.
Patrick Pillay of the MF said their campaigns were going well and they were “positive of a great victory in wards 52 and 73”.