It already feels like a lifetime ago that Business Day was calling for calm heads and proper reflection for the DA after its chastening performance in the May 8 general elections. But we didn’t count on Helen Zille. And neither did DA leader Mmusi Maimane, who has been left looking even weaker and ineffectual than he did in the wake of the poll results. To recap. The DA remains the second-largest party in parliament with just over 20% of the votes cast. The problem for Maimane is that the party failed to take advantage of a drop in support for the ANC of about five percentage points. Instead it lost support to the right, with the Freedom Front Plus being the major beneficiary. Its ineffective message meant it couldn’t compensate for that by increasing its share of black voters, bleeding support in key townships. All of this meant Maimane has the dubious honour of being the first DA leader to fail to increase the party’s support in a general election. This coming in the wake of a ca...

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