DA breaks out of traditional base
THE DA has taken Cape Town and most of the Western Cape in a landslide, and increased its support.
By last night, the DA had 63.75 percent of the provincial vote, the ANC 25.47 percent and the EFF 2.67 percent.
The DA increased its vote by six percentage points – in the 2011 local government elections it had 57.7 percent and the ANC 33.65 percent.
The party also increased its support in Cape Town by almost eight percentage points. In the city, the DA took 68.57 percent of the vote – in 2011 it had 60.92 percent.
In 2011, the ANC was the official opposition with 32.8 percent of the vote, but yesterday it sat with 22.35 percent. The EFF has become the third biggest party, garnering 3.03 percent.
The resounding victory was being quietly celebrated by DA officials last night, but their leadership cautioned against triumphalism. The party’s leaders were expected to celebrate their victory this morning at Albert Luthuli Place, next to the Civic Centre.
Earlier yesterday, officials from the smaller parties, hoping for representation in the Western Cape’s 30 municipalities, sat huddled around desktop computers provided by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), which was spewing out the latest results.
De Lille, with a renewed mandate, thanked the voters of Cape Town for their confidence in the DA.
“The only way we could have grown the way we did as the Democratic Alliance was by getting the support of blacks, whites, coloured and Indians. The DA has broken out of its traditional base.”
De Lille acknowledged that South Africa was still dealing with its apartheid past, which required redress policies.
“This election also presented us with this (opportunity) of designing our future. So we campaigned very positively on what we want to see the future of Cape Town to be like,” said De Lille.
As she had previously promised, De Lille said the DA’s election manifesto would be included in the City’s integrated development plan.
Perhaps the biggest surprise victory for the DA was the Beaufort West municipality, where incumbent mayor Truman Prince had ruled the roost for years as either municipal manager or mayor.
Dogged by controversy for years, Prince was recently accused of assaulting a DA councillor in Beaufort West, and before that of soliciting a bribe related to the construction of a training centre in the town.
DA deputy federal chairman Ivan Meyer said victory in Beaufort West came as no surprise after it had deployed Western Cape Legislature Speaker Sharna Fernandez to the municipality.
“She has done outstanding work. I’ve been there, I’ve campaigned there and we brought in a lot of the heavyweights,” said Meyer.
News of the defeat in Beaufort West, which filtered through yesterday morning, came as blow to ANC officials gathered at the IEC’s regional operations centre at the Century City Convention Centre.
Beaufort West will now have a new mayor in George Moloi as the DA negotiates with the Karoo Development Forum (KDF). Both the DA and the ANC have six seats in the 13-seat municipality, while the KDF has one seat.
While the DA celebrated, the Western Cape ANC officials conceded defeat, saying they had not done as well as they had expected. The party’s working committee was expected to meet this afternoon to reflect after suffering historic losses to the DA.
ANC Western Cape spokesperson Jabu Mfusi said President Jacob Zuma’s numerous scandals, from Nkandla to Guptagate, could not be blamed for the losses. He said despite criticism the ANC would coalesce around Zuma.
“We’ll now be preparing for the (ANC) policy conference in June next year and then the national conference,” said Mfusi.
The ANC retained most of its support in its strongholds in Cape Town’s south-eastern black townships, from Langa to Nomzamo in Strand.
ANC provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs said the party had expected to do better.
“We accept the result, there is a national trend. We congratulate the winning party, but we can assure that we will play an effective opposition role in all of our municipalities, especially in Cape Town,” said Jacobs.
He said the ANC would go back to the drawing board and study the results because there were “a lot of lessons” to be learnt from the defeats.
EFF provincial secretary Melikhaya Xego said the party was in a good position to be kingmakers in some of the municipalities in the Western Cape with no outright majorities. The party was on course last night to be the third biggest party in the province.
“We have managed to get something out of nothing,” said Xego, adding the EFF’s activists had gone from door to door to canvass.