DA leader Mmusi Maimane has blamed “ill discipline” as one of the main causes for its drop in support during the 2019 national elections, according to the City Press.
Speaking at the first sitting of the federal council, the DA leader reportedly took aim at councillors and other officials who openly, and publicly criticised the DA during election campaigns and other opportunities where voters were present.
Here, he highlighted that the ANC knew to close ranks and put forward a picture of unity when it come to elections – while DA officials instead chose to attack the party.
These officials were ill disciplined, he said, and the party as a whole needed to take a step back and assess who it is and what it wants to be about.
The DA reduced its share of the vote from over 22% in 2014 to just under 21% in 2019.
The ruling party, the ANC claimed 57.5% of the count – though this reflects its worst performance in any national election – and the EFF ended up with 10.8% of the vote.
The outcome represents the first decline in support for the DA in an election since it was established, with negative results extending beyond just the national vote.
Support for the party declined in the Western Cape, and it lost its position as the official opposition in Mpumalanga.
Following the poor election campaign, Maimane said that he took full responsibility for the performance, but would continue to fight for the party’s message of a South Africa for all.
The party has suffered significant blows from several poorly-handled sagas over the years, including the mishandling of its very public fallout with former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille.
Another knock to the party were the conflicting messages from officials regarding former leader Helen Zille, who sparked public backlash on more than one occasion through her social media accounts,
With the de Lille matter, the former mayor ultimately left the party (whether she was fired or quit remains a subject of legal debate) and formed her own party, GOOD, which contested the elections and ended with enough votes to get both de Lille and her deputy into parliament.
In a shock move, president Cyril Ramaphosa appointed de Lille as minister of public works and infrastructure – the only non ANC minister appointed to cabinet – which was seen by the public as a symbolic victory for the GOOD leader over the DA.
Regarding Helen Zille’s controversial tweets, the DA’s leadership, including Maimane, had taken an official stance of opposing her views, with the former DA leader ultimately being removed from serving in any public structures in the party.
However, this decision was not a popular one among many within the party and among voters, who still support Zille.
According to the City Press, Maimane has commissioned a full review of the party that will include these events, as well as many of its policies.