Watch: DA’s Maimane on losing support and the threat of Julius Malema

Leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) Mmusi Maimane says that he is not concerned about the growing populism of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) under Julius Malema.

In a new episode of Talk To Al Jazeera, Maimane told Al Jazeera journalist, Jonah Hull, that any opposition party is a threat to the DA.

When questioned if Malema was a particular threat, Maimane said that Malema has joined the slipstream of populism. He noted that much of the EFF’s manifesto does not align with the constitution.

He said that, while popular, what would be of interest is if the EFF wins any council – to gage their ability to govern. “That will matter,” Maimane said.

The DA lead said that while the EFF may be a threat in the short term, thanks to the sway of popular emotion, the DA will outstrip the party in the long-run.

Maimane was also questioned about a recent poll conducted by New World Wealth which suggested that the DA may be losing its ‘traditional’ support base under his leadership.

Maimane said that while he did not know the sampling mechanisms of that particular poll, “we have our own polling mechanism that is in fact confirming that our traditional base has come with us”.

“Perhaps the history of the DA was born out of a balancing between the hopes of the majority, and the fears of the minority,” Maimane said, noting that he wants to build a party where there is a collective vision, without a balancing act.

He acknowledged that along the way, there will be South Africans, who say: ‘you are pursuing this vision, it isn’t consistent with me’. “But its a vision that is inclusive,” the DA lead said. “It’s a vision that says the DA must be that alternative, it must be that vision that carries on Nelson Mandela’s legacy, but understands that we’ve got a country to run.

As part of its South Africa 2016 Wealth Report, NWW polled 650 ordinary South Africans on who they would vote for in the 2019 general election.

“Our sample included South Africans across demographic groups that matched the country as a whole,” it said.

Only 8% of respondents said that they would vote for the DA if Maimane is the leader – significantly lower than 22% in the 2014 election.

The poll showed that 7% of respondents said that they would vote for the EFF – slightly above the 6% that the party won in the 2014 election.

[Image by Jurgen Marx]

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Watch: DA’s Maimane on losing support and the threat of Julius Malema