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The future of the DA hangs in the balance in Cape Town

South Africans will cast their votes in the local government elections on Monday. Picture: Ntswe Mokoena

South Africans will cast their votes in the local government elections on Monday. Picture: Ntswe Mokoena

Published Oct 30, 2021


Cape Town - For the first time in a long time, the race to rule Cape Town may not be a foregone conclusion come Monday’s elections.

The DA is looking to add more years to its 15-year reign, but the emergence of the GOOD party, Patriotic Alliance and Cape Coloured Congress pose a great threat. These parties have made inroads in areas where the DA has traditionally enjoyed support.

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“They (the DA) will struggle in these elections,” said political analyst Dr Ralph Mathekga. “The DA is not listening to their voters, and people will put their trust in these new political parties.”

He forecasts the ANC will also lose support, and of the big three, only the EFF will gain support.

“There is no political party that has consolidated support.”

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The increase in the number of political parties and independent candidates poses a serious threat to the DA's bid for another outright majority. Parties such as GOOD, Patriotic Alliance and Cape Coloured Congress are targeting voters who are not happy with the DA’s rule.

A coalition government is something the DA does not want, especially in Cape Town, and they have been vocal about it throughout their campaign.

Mayoral candidate Geordin Hill-Lewis labelled coalition governments “messy and unstable” and wants to avoid them at all costs.

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“Cape Town loves the DA, and the feeling is mutual. It has also been great to meet so many fascinating Capetonians, discuss their ideas for where Cape Town can improve if I am elected.”

Responding to comments about the danger independent candidates pose for his party and the possibility of them not winning with an outright majority, he said: “The DA does not count any chickens before they hatch. We are working for every vote. We are wary of the danger that smaller parties represent. The danger that these parties represent is that they will take away enough of the DA’s votes to smuggle the ANC into power through the back door. This is why we are urging every Capetonian to get out and vote DA on November 1. There will be time to braai and relax, but first get to your nearest voting station.”

Not much is said about the ANC chances in the province, but the party has been doing well in by-elections around the Western Cape, and despite only winning one municipality previously, they are currently running 10 municipalities through coalitions.

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ANC head of elections in the province, Cameron Dugmore said they are confident that they will end the DA’s rule not only in Cape Town but in other municipalities as well.

“The energy levels are high and this is due to the leadership by our president, our candidates’ selection process, and sense of anger towards the DA by unhappy voters.”

He said they will retain their wards and take more from the DA.

The GOOD party’s Brett Herron also said they are looking forward to Monday’s elections. “Our mood is good, we are excited for Monday and I think we will show growth.”

He also said the possibility of no outright winner is at an all-time high.

“Voters are open to new ideas and they are tired of broken promises. It is possible that there will be no outright winner.”

Despite the DA stating it has the best-run municipality, it faces criticism of prioritising affluent areas.

Professor Amanda Gouws from the University of Stellenbosch’s Department of Political Science said the party is judged differently compared to others.

“The DA is judged by how they treat their voters, and through overt (the way they treated Mmusi Maimane and their posters in Phoenix) or covert racism, has managed to alienate black voters and their traditional support base of white progressive liberals. They have also alienated some coloured voters whose support has gone to the GOOD party.”

Another issue facing the party is the move to undo what former leader Mmusi Maimane was trying to achieve, to make the party attractive to black voters and make them feel welcome. The DA lost voters to the Freedom Front Plus and it is now moving more to the right to try and regain those votes, but it comes with a cost.

“There is a limit to the support that they can get from the right, while on the other hand, the support that they can get from African voters does not have this type of limit,” explained Gouws.

Weekend Argus