Cape Town - Land expropriation, increased water tariffs and the Patricia de Lille spat may have cost the DA two seats in the provincial legislature.
Political analysts believe that the DA’s decline from 26 seats after the 2014 national elections to 24 seats was due to voters who had moved to the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) and the Good party.
The ANC also lost two seats in the province. In a breakdown of the seats the DA has 24, the ANC has 12, EFF has two, Good won a seat, FF+ also gained a seat and both the ACDP and Al Jama-ah have one seat each.
Political science professor Amanda Gouws of Stellenbosch University said the decline in DA support in the province was because of voters who were unsatisfied with the way the party functioned.
Gouws said the water crisis and tariffs could have played a role as well as the DA’s clash with De Lille. She said some people may also feel that the DA didn’t do enough with the land expropriation issue.
“The white supporters in the party aligned with FF+ while the black and coloured supporters aligned themselves with Good. The DA have to deal with the infighting as it has given a bad message to the voters, it’s quite similar to the ANC,” she said.
Political analyst Sanusha Naidoo cautioned that although there was a drop in votes, one also had to consider the decline in voter turnout.
“FF+ talks to the preservative right wing. Voters didn’t see a proactive, vocal DA on the land issue while the FF+ were more open, focused and clearer on the issue.
“The DA has to deal with diverse ideological positions; it’s a liberal party that has to accommodate the Afrikaner and coloured voice,” she said.
She said the ANC lost its voters to the EFF. “The ANC has to deal with its internal factions, which cost them. It needs to strategise and re-align itself to its traditional area.
“Both the DA and the ANC need to address the change in the demographic profile. Young people won’t be patient with the ANC and DA needs to look at its demographic shrink, which will make it harder for them,” she said.
Provincial DA leader Bonginkosi Madikizela disputed that their votes went to the FF+, but claims they went to Good. “We lost 3% and it was taken by (De Lille). We didn’t lose to the FF+, our message on land was clear. We are a bit disappointed but we will get those voters back.”
ANC elections head Ebrahim Rasool said the party was laying the foundation in this year’s elections.
“We just have to continue to reform the organisation and be an opposing organisation until we regain the trust of voters,” he said.@Zoey_Dano