2019 South African general election: Analysis and News

'DA's poor performance dates back to Tony Leon bringing in conservative voters'

Many analysts say the big success story of this election is the strong showing by the Freedom Front Plus (FF+).

The latest figures show it's captured around 2.3% of the national vote, up from 0.8% in 2014.

Mcebisi Ndletyana, associate professor of politics and international relations at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), says the inroads made into the electorate of the Democratic Alliance (DA), can be traced back to Tony Leon's presidency of the party.

This poor performance was pretty much pre-figured by Tony Leon's presidency of the party when he decided to bring on board conservative voters that had previously voted for conservative parties.

Mcebisi Ndletyana, Associate professor of politics and international relations - UJ

Professor Ndletyana says since then the DA, under consecutive leaders, has tried to strengthen a party which had become a mixture of conservative and liberal voters.

When Helen (Zille) came in, she tried to grow the party because she realised it had reached a glass ceiling in so far as the white electorate was concerned.

Mcebisi Ndletyana, Associate professor of politics and international relations - UJ

For the party to become a formidable party and even perhaps win power one day, they had to grow into the black townships.

Mcebisi Ndletyana, Associate professor of politics and international relations - UJ

Mmusi (Maimane) took that even further, but there was a backlash within the party because some of them simply think race doesn't matter.

Mcebisi Ndletyana, Associate professor of politics and international relations - UJ

He says Maimane was caught in the middle and now faces a tough decision about the way foward for the DA.

So the question is where do you go now? You can't go strictly conservative because you'll alienate black, you can't go black because you alienate white...

Mcebisi Ndletyana, Associate professor of politics and international relations - UJ

Ndletyana believes Maimane's future depends on whether the DA decides to continue as a strictly-white or a non-racial party.

For the complete discussion, listen below:


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