DA confident of win in Western Cape
It is still early days but the party's exit polls indicate that it has retained control of the province
The DA is confident that it has retained control of the Western Cape, to date the only province in the hands of the opposition party.
DA premier candidate Alan Winde believed the party would get between 50% and 52% of the vote, a sharp decline from its 2014 performance of 59.38%. However, he cautioned that it was still too early to give a conclusive answer.
A host of new parties contested the provincial election — 34 in total — including Patricia de Lille's Good party, which was expected to have drawn votes away from the DA.
The FF Plus had showed a strong growth in the province, provincial leader Corne Mulder said in an interview at the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC's) provincial election centre.
Winde said that he had been “cautiously optimistic” earlier on Thursday morning but by midday was confident about a DA win in the province.
He said the DA's strongholds in white and coloured areas held firm, even though they had come under pressure from the multitude of parties.
Live results for the Western Cape in the 2019 general elections
“It seems to be holding strongly,” he said.
Some areas had shown weakness such as in the Bo-Kaap in central Cape Town, while others had shown strong gains such as in Hessaqua.
“There are ups and downs all over the place,” Winde said.
Turnout on Wednesday was affected by the weather and logistical challenges, such as a shortage of ballot papers.
“At the end of the day, I am reasonably happy,” Winde said.
Mulder said the FF Plus was “quite excited” by both its provincial and national results.
“We predicted right from the beginning that it would be a race between about six or seven parties and the result proved us correct. Currently, we are in sixth position [in the Western Cape].”
He said the party was at about 2% of the provincial vote at this stage, which marked an increase from the pre-election figure of 0.5% in the 2014 provincial election.
As vote counting hits the halfway mark on May 9 2019, SA's politicians comment on the election process thus far.
“We did unfortunately pay a price for the DA's scare tactics”, Mulder said, which involved “scaring” the electorate into voting for the party to avoid an ANC-EFF coalition coming to power. This was indicated by the “huge” difference between the FF Plus's national performance and its provincial tally, he said.
A large portion of the party's votes came from the mainly Afrikaans-speaking community in the Southern Cape, in places such as George, Mossel Bay and the Breede Valley.
ANC national executive committee member and deputy finance minister Mondli Gungubele said the party hoped for an improvement in the Western Cape but was not able to provide figures of a likely performance at this stage.
The party was not "fully happy" with the turnout, he said.
ANC Western Cape premier candidate Ebrahim Rasool cautioned that with large numbers of black township votes not fully counted yet, it was too early to pass judgment on the ANC's performance.
He said the ANC had to contend with rain on voting day as well as the fact that the process of building trust with its supporters was still a work in progress.
“The indications are there that the core voters are willing to give President Cyril Ramaphosa a strong mandate but they are not as enthusiastic as they may have been and the rain definitely had a dampening effect.
“We are fairly satisfied given the low base of 26% in the 2016 campaign that we are on course on the renewal of the ANC organisationally and morally.”
Independent political analyst Daniel Silke believed that the DA would be “exceptionally relieved with the potential of them securing the Western Cape again”.
“Given where the party was over the course of the last 18 months in Cape Town, given the issues related to the Patricia de Lille saga, the management of the water crisis and other issues in the City of Cape Town I think the result is a very encouraging result for the DA in the Western Cape.”
Silke believed the election result in the Western Cape would be disappointing for the Good party which had not managed to win over a critical mass of supporters to put itself in the hoped-for position of kingmaker should the DA’s share fall below 50%.
“The party comes out of this as just another small party,” Silke said.