COPE leader Mosiuoa Lekota File photo: Phando Jikela/African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - Cope and UDM’s strategy of criticising the ANC and sticking to the message that they are better than the ruling party has led to them losing valuable votes at the polls, according to political analyst  Ralph Mathekga.

If UDM’s fall has been a calamitous then Cope’s loss of votes has been an absolute disaster.

On Saturday, when election results were officially released the UDM received 78 030 votes or 2 seats in the National Assembly. In 2009, the UDM had 149 80 votes and 4 seats in parliament. In 2009 Cope received 1 311 027 votes and 30 seats at national level, making it the third most popular party in the country behind the ANC and the DA. Cope’s voter haul at this elections was 47 461 - a far cry from the heady days of the 2009 polls. 

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said the party was surprised and disappointed at the performance ‘and we will have to go back to the drawing board to determine where we went wrong, with our eyes firmly on an improved result in the 2021 and 2024 elections’.

“We have noticed the lower percentage of voter turnout and the effect that it might have had on the election results. The UDM definitely takes issue with the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) handling of these elections. There were far too many big mistakes on their side that negatively impacted on whether this election was indeed free and fair. In particular, the Commission’s handling of the complaints will be the final test that will make or break the IEC’s reputation and credibility.”

COPE leader  Mosiuoa Lekota  said he believes the party will be resuscitated after a poor performance in the elections.

Lekota is reported to have said that Cope needs to be operated on in preparation for the 2021 local government elections.

"There were some mistakes that were made, and I am not sure what, but we are going to sit with the party structures to examine if there were any mistakes or misjudgements that we might have made," he told News24.

Lekota said the party would rebuild from the ground level.

Mathekga said both Cope and UDM wanted to be a better ANC but became irrelevant immediately when the ANC became better.

“Their message, which is largely critical of the ANC, gets stale over time. They excelled in earlier elections but subsequently suffered because they did not work on their message.

“The EFF looks like a better ANC to some but they might not fare so well in future elections if they don’t look at their message,” he said.

Political Bureau