SA Election 2019: Results


Bulls fan
Feb 22, 2005
Who actually cares about your feelings about others feelings?

You may not care about others feelings, but the electorate worldwide do. The DA failed to attract the wider appeal it was aiming for because that was being undermined from within the party.

You don't care about what Helen Zille tweets, but the wider electorate do. You don't care about what the image of what the whole De Lille saga did to the DA, but the people who voted do.

You don't get a whole new swathe of black supporters when you don't care what they feel.
Feelings are never going to give those people a better future or jobs. They can keep voting ANC for worse or worse.

Hamish McPanji

Honorary Master
Oct 29, 2009
William Gumede: The DA's campaign battle plan was simply wrong

2019-05-19 07:00William Gumede

The success of the ANC is that it does not function like an ordinary political party. Its branch system serves as communities it can activate during elections. The DA has failed to grow something similar, writes William Gumede.

The Democratic Alliance (DA), having the best opposition market it may ever get, performed worse in this election than in 1994. It will have to dramatically overhaul its leadership, policies and ideological positioning if it is to benefit from a likely future decline in the ANC's dominance.

The DA's campaign battle plan was simply wrong. The first phase of the DA's campaign focused on attacking then ANC and South African president Jacob Zuma for corruption, mismanagement and incompetence. This attracted many black middle and working class supporters of the ANC who were opposed to the failure of the ANC under Zuma.

Then Cyril Ramaphosa appeared on the scene. Many of these disillusioned black middle and working class voters now returned to the ANC because of Ramaphosa's magic. The DA campaign then wrongly focused on attacking Ramaphosa, the person, trying to highlight that he is part of the corrupt ANC, rather than shifting focus to emphasise its own governing and leadership capability and its own vision to undo race-based poverty, unemployment and homelessness.

The success of the ANC is that it does not function like an ordinary political party. It has a branch system (even if many branches are dysfunctional) which serves as communities, providing members with everything from support at funerals, to participation in communal social events.

During election campaigns these ANC branch members go door to door persuading their local communities to vote for the ANC. The DA has never seriously attempted to create a similar type of DA "community" at the grassroots level, which could provide practical help to local communities, solidarity during hard times and social mobility networks.

Perceptions that repel black voters

The DA had a number of internal fights which spilled into the public arena. In these fights the perception has been created that the DA is controlled by a small white cabal and that strong black leaders are being marginalised. Such perceptions of course repel black voters.

The first was the incompetent handling of the fallout with its former mayor of Cape Town Patricia de Lille, who left the DA and formed the GOOD Party. The DA's former leader Helen Zille also caused controversy when she tweeted "colonialism was terrible but its legacy is not only negative". This was political suicide given that the trauma of colonialism and apartheid still lives on for most blacks – broken individuals, lost assets and continuing racism, and the fact that the DA is targeting the black vote.

Also, Zille's strident public engagements at times appeared to overshadow Maimane, creating the impression in many minds that she was the real leader of the party, and Maimane was a "puppet". This imagery fitted perfectly in colonial and apartheid-based black popular perceptions of white-black power relations of white "masters" and black "tokens". It was then of course exploited by the ANC and the EFF, who, not surprisingly, in their campaigns, emphasised this to lure back black voters who have considered voting for the DA.

The irony is that the DA is now South Africa's most racially diverse party, in leadership, members and support base. The DA's spokesperson on communications, Phumzile van Damme, one of its prominent younger, black leaders clashed with Zille when the latter called for a tax revolt by ordinary citizens to oppose the ANC government's corruption. Van Damme opposed Zille's call.

The party also fudged the existential black issues of black economic empowerment (BEE) and affirmative action, both which the party rejected, rather than coming up with fairer redress policies for blacks disadvantaged by apartheid.
More here: