Cape Town - A massive victory, a consolidation, an implosion and a fiery newcomer to the Western Cape legislature. These were the impressions of the election results late on Thursday night as the DA retained a convincing hold of the Western Cape with its 1.1 million votes, totalling just under 60 percent of the vote.
And the ANC, unable to seize the province as it had hoped, managed to consolidate its position in the province by pushing up its support to 645 306 votes or 33.44 percent.
But Cope, which notched up a respectable 7.7 percent in the 2009 polls, raked in a disappointing 11 618 votes, or 0.6 percent of the captured vote, pointing to a party on the brink of an “implosion”.
Spirited newcomers, the EFF, coming in behind the DA and the ANC in the election race, with just over 2 percent of the vote, totalling 40 006 votes, set its sights on a seat in the provincial government.
On Thursday night, DA deputy leader in the province Theuns Botha said he was impressed by his party’s overall increase.
“Even if they’re only provisional results, we know for sure that no matter what happens the DA cannot lose this province anymore.”
Referring to the ANC, he said: “Even with the scheming and dodgy plans to get DA members to jump ship, their efforts were futile.”
Echoing the sentiment, DA provincial chairman Anton Bredell said competition for a seat in the provincial legislature would be waged between Cope, Al Jama-ah and Icosa.
The ACDP and the EFF would definitely get at least one seat in the legislature, while the ANC would probably get 14 of the 42 seats.
The ANC’s leadership did not consider Thursday night’s results a total loss.
“Clearly we have not lost anything,” said the party’s secretary, Songezo Mjongile. “From where we sit we’ve consolidated what we received and we’ve added on that.”
But the reality was, said Mjongile, that while the ANC had increased its support, so had the DA.
“The net effect is that the DA has wiped out the small opposition parties and the splinter votes and consolidated them into the party.”
This showed the DA was nearing its ceiling, as it had positioned itself as a party that spoke for a particular constituency,.
“They have not made any real traction into ANC strongholds. If they got anything more than 5 percent than they got last time in ANC base areas it would be a lot.”
Mjongile said the ANC had made inroads in DA-controlled municipalities in rural areas such as Hessequa and Berg River. The ANC had also increased its support in the Swartland, he said.
Mjongile said trust remained an issue in the Western Cape, particularly in coloured areas.
“Trust is earned through action, so you are going to see consistent action on the part of the ANC in taking up community issues.”
Mjongile said the ANC had raked in Cope’s vote with almost all the Cope leadership and members coming back into the ANC.
“That played a big role in neutralising the effect of the EFF,” he said.
Leonard Ramatlakane, who rejoined the ANC last month after a stint as an MP for Cope, spoke frankly of the party’s “sad story”.
He said Cope was warned that unless things changed it would be a “slow walk to a funeral” for the party that in 2009 had three seats in the Western Cape government.
Ramatlakane said the party had been “broken brick by brick” by its leaders. And he warned that the EFF would go the same way as the Cope.
“The question is whether there will be sustainability. They’ve got no party structures in place.”
EFF premier candidate Nazier Paulsen said that for a party just nine months old he was happy with the party’s performance
“We’ve laid a good foundation going forward. We would have liked more votes, but in nine months what more could we expect? We would have preferred more time to put up community structures,” he said.
About a possibility of a seat in the provincial legislature, Paulsen said “we would have preferred three”.