The pull of nationalism and radicalism has bled both the ANC and DA and in the aftermath of this hard-fought election, heads may now roll.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane has come under pressure after the official opposition’s drop in electoral support.
On Friday night, the DA was sitting with just 3.2 million voters, which represented around 20% of the national vote, compared to 22.23% in 2014.
DA federal chairperson Athol Trollip said DA leader Mmusi Maimane led a team and that they all “take responsibility”.
On Monday, the DA will hold a meeting of its highest decision-making body - federal executive (Fedex) to reflect on the drop in support by almost 2% as compared to the general elections in 2014. It is understood that Maimane’s detractors could use the electoral performance to push for his ouster. Maimane’s future is hanging in the balance after he failed to grow the party’s support in the same way former party leaders, Helen Zille and Tony Leon.
Political analyst and author Richard Calland contended that the DA’s preoccupation with courting black voters had driven its traditional white “right-wing” base into the arms of the Freedom Front Plus (FF+).
Calland, though, said “it was obvious” that the DA’s losses benefited the FF+, which had gained almost 2% in votes late yesterday.
“The DA has bled votes from its right-wing; from people who are probably concerned about the DA’s position on things like black economic empowerment.
“There is concern that it is focused on winning black votes (rather) than protecting the interests of white voters,” Calland said .
“And then land expropriation without compensation becomes the litmus test for that; do they (white voters) think that the DA is strong enough (against) land reform, or do they want a party that is utterly determined to fight (expropriation) at all costs?
“And they (white voters) may, therefore, have concluded that the FF+ is a safer bet for them,” he added.
On Friday, James Selfe, who chairs the Fedex, confirmed that the DA would hold a Fedex meeting on Monday to assess its electoral showing. Although Selfe did not rule out a possible challenge to Maimane on Monday, he added, “I doubt anyone would come with any sort of motion against him.”
On whether Maimane would see out the rest of his DA term, which ends in 2021, Selfe said: “If you had to ask me if it was going to happen (Maimane seeing out his term), I would say that yes, it is going to happen. But, you know, I can’t predict every eventuality.”
However, Trollip, has reportedly thrown his weight behind Maimane, saying he would continue to lead the party until 2021. Trollip said the leadership of the party as a whole would take responsibility for the dip in the votes.
But Maimane, however, was upbeat yesterday blaming the DA’s dwindling support on the rise of “nationalism and radicalism”.
“The thing that I celebrate about these election results is that we have demonstrated that we have a diverse base; that it doesn’t matter where we’ve come from. I’ve just got the latest projections that, even in a place like Soweto (in Gauteng), where the DA was accustomed to getting 5% of votes there, (we’re) getting 13%. To me, that shows that we can grow in Soweto as we can in Sandton,” Maimane said.
Asked whether Maimane would finish his term, DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi said: “It will be irresponsible to speculate on it. The Fedex is meeting on Monday. Part of the agenda will be a report on our electoral performance and its ordinary business.”
The ANC stood at 57.67%, down from the 62.15% it garnered in 2014. The EFF had secured 10.59% nationally last night, up from 6.35% in 2014.
EFF national chairperson Dali Mpofu said the party was upbeat and satisfied to be in the double digits nationally when the ANC and the DA have declined.
In Gauteng, the DA stood at 27.29%, the ANC at 50.72% and the EFF at 14.41 at the time of publication.
The weakened performance of both the ANC and DA in Gauteng, has opened the possibility that the legislature will fracture into governing coalitions.
This is where the smaller parties like the IFP will become important.
Last night, IFP Gauteng leader Bonginkosi Dhlamini was confident that his party was going to regain its seat in the Gauteng legislature.
“We are confident that we will regain our seat in the Gauteng legislature and possibly double our seats after the completion of the counting,” Dhlamini said.
The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) is expected to release the final results today, while several smaller parties contested the integrity of the poll.
Last night IEC Commissioner Janet Love said Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke would provide a sample of 1020 voting stations, which would form the basis of the independent audit into alleged voter irregularities
She said while it was “theoretically possible” for people to vote more than once, the SAPS had reported that while there were attempts to double vote, there was no direct evidence that it has actually happened.
“As things stand, we do have indications that it is theoretically possible to vote more than once. Although attempts have been made, the finding is that there is no evidence of double or triple voting.”
Love said the audit process was an independent process, which provided the statistician-general with the full voters role.
The Deputy National Commissioner responsible for Policing, Lieutenant General Fannie Masemola, said last night that 17 people attempted to vote twice in Dannhauser.