What’s next for the DA after its poor election results?

Questions will be asked about whether DA Leader Mmusi Maimane is the right man to take the opposition party forward after its poor performance in the elections.

The Independent Electoral Commission completed its task of counting the votes cast in the 2019 national elections, on Saturday.

The ruling party, the ANC claimed 57.5% of the count, with the DA declining to 20.8% of the vote, while the EFF gained 10.8% of the vote.

The Sunday Times reported that Maimane’s future is expected to come under ‘sharp discussion’ when the party holds its federal executive (fedex) meeting on Monday.

Under Maimane,the DA saw its share of national votes drop from 22.23% under Helen Zille, to 20.77% this year.

“Our loss of support nationally is a both a disappointment. We will reflect and evaluate the reasons for this and make the necessary changes. Ultimately, our mission to build a non-racial consensus at the very centre of SA’s politics in alive and well on track,” Maimane said at a press briefing at the IEC Results Operation Centre in Tshwane on Friday.

The Sunday Times, citing well-placed sources in the DA, said that Maimane’s detractors can smell blood, while DA CEO Jonathan Moakes, who was in charge of the party’s election campaign, is also in the firing line.

Maimane’s detractors include current and former MPs and MPLs from the party’s neoconservative grouping, known in DA circles as the “old guard”, the Sunday paper said.

“They are gloating. Even before the results started coming in, there were so many of them that were waiting for Mmusi to fail,” said a party source.

Other DA insiders said that Maimane’s future as party leader may come under threat at the federal council – the highest decision-making structure – in June. It could see calls for an early national congress next year instead of the one scheduled for 2021, the Sunday Times said.

“There will have to be a sacrificial lamb and that will play out at the fedex on Monday, but I think Mmusi will be fine, at least for now. People will try their luck at the federal council … but the reality is that we can’t afford an early conference, politically and financially,” a source told the paper.

The DA, formerly known as the Democratic Party, gained 1.73% of the vote in the first democratic elections in 1994. However, it increased its support to 9.6% in 1999 and to 12.4% in the 2004 national elections.

Helen Zille took over the DA’s leadership in 2007 and she continued where Tony Leon left off. The DA grew its support to 16.7% in the 2009 elections and jumped to 22.2% in the 2014 elections.

The graph below outlines the final national results.

Maimane said in his speech on Friday, that the DA will continue to hold the constitutional line.

“We will continue to fight for the rule of law and for a market-driven economy. We will never give up working for a united, prosperous South Africa.

“I am 100% committed to this project. It is a massive responsibility, but it is worth each and every blow we may take along the way. We will soldier on and ultimately, we will be successful, because we stand on principle and for what is right.”

“Exactly four years ago to the day, I was elected to lead the Democratic Alliance. On that day, I inherited a party that was on its way to becoming a governing party of the future – a non-racial party at the centre of building and realising the dreams, hopes and aspirations of all South Africans.

“I have taken responsibility for this project and I will continue to fight for it each and every day.”

Read: South African national election 2019 final results


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What’s next for the DA after its poor election results?