Pretoria - Athol Trollip, a former metro mayor and senior DA politician, has rallied around party leader Mmusi Maimane, saying the organisation should take "collective responsibility" for its drastic drop in this year's elections.
Trollip borrowed from the ANC's "collective responsibility" line - when the 107-year-old movement had a dismal showing in losing key metros after the 2016 local elections in shielding then-president Jacob Zuma for the dramatic drop in the party's electoral support.
Trollip was speaking at a briefing on Friday morning at the Electoral Commission's results centre in Tshwane.
"Mmusi Maimane led a team - we all take responsibility. There is going to be no irresponsibility about the (change in) leadership. Mmusi Maimane is the leader of the DA; he will be the leader of the DA until the next congress (in 2022).
"And we believe that, against a really, really difficult background, he (Maimane) led a magnificent campaign," Trollip asserted.
"He (Maimane) has my support; he has the support of the party going forward into the (local government) elections in 2021, and it's going to be a very critical election. And we will show there that we can grow again at local government level," Trollip added.
Maimane, who was flanked by other senior party leaders, was upbeat despite the party sitting at 21.55% of the almost 84% of the votes tallied - a drop of almost 1% from the DA's 2014 showing at national level.
In Gauteng, where the DA was sitting at 28.63% after 63.15% of votes counted in the province, Maimane was buoyant that his party was challenging the ANC and could bring the ruling party below the crucial 50% mark.
"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," Maimane enthused.
"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, is getting 13%. To me, that shows that we can grow in Soweto as we can in Sandton," the DA leader contended.
#SAElections2019 Athol Trollip says he backs Mmusi Maimane as DA Leader, and that the party needs to take collective responsibility for their drop in support. @TheStar_news @ReporterStar @IOL pic.twitter.com/eaOklhcUZ8— Khaya Sibulele Koko (@khayakoko88) May 10, 2019
Meanwhile KwaZulu-Natal DA leader Zwakele Mncwango said the party doesn't believe most of its provincial voters moved to the Freedom Front Plus (VF+)
Mncwango said that even if there are voters who used to vote for them in the past and have decided to move to the far right party like the VF+, they have no material impact on their support in the province.
Mncwango said that his party and the African National Congress are parties that can be best described as centre parties (moderate parties) and they are fishing from the same pond of voters who have no extreme desires about the country and its policies.
He added that he was happy that voting patterns show that most voters in the country are in the centre and wants to unite the country.
"The question is would you be worried if someone moves far right? You should not b worried because those are people who are not happy to see us united. I think for me as a leader of DA in the province I am happy that in KZN the majority that supports the DA means that they share our values."
The Star and the Independent on Saturday