On Wednesday, the Democratic Alliance (DA) retained 14 wards in a series of by-elections that took place in various wards across South Africa.
The Party also won two new wards – in Matjhabeng in the Free State and in the Walter Sisulu municipality in the Eastern Cape where we beat the ANC. This is the second time in two years that the ANC has lost wards to the DA in the Eastern Cape.
However, the DA faced a net loss of 7 wards in the by-elections, and we are analysing them very carefully, ward by ward.
The DA has democratically mature voters who punish us where we have disappointed them through weak local councillors or perceived governance failures.
There is also the phenomenon of “identity politics” – a worldwide trend that has also impacted the South African electoral landscape.
The debacle of Schweizer-Reneke continues to haunt the DA in the North West Province, and the months of conflict between the DA and Patricia de Lille, which gave rise to the party known as GOOD, has eaten into our support base in certain Western Cape wards.
The DA has learnt many lessons of its poor handling of these events, and it will take time for us to rebuild trust with the voters.
However, we are very pleased that we retained the majority of our wards, showed growth in some of them and even won two new wards in a period when we are busy consolidating and stabilizing internal systems and processes.
Yesterday’s by-election also brought to light challenges in the run-up to next year’s election, which the DA intends to tackle head-on, based on the lessons we have learnt.
Recent events have once again shown that South Africa must build the moderate non-racial centre, and that the DA is the only party that can do so successfully.
We are in for the politics of the long haul. There are no short cuts. These only lead to set backs. The DA is on the road again.
We thank every South African who voted for the DA yesterday.
Get to know newly elected DA leader, John Steenhuisen, and invest in the 2021 Local Government Election campaign. Click here.