Mathematics is one of very few certainties in the shifting landscape of politics. The numbers don’t lie. And what they say about SA’s official opposition, the DA, is that it is a party in crisis. Recent by-elections show there’s been no end to the blood-letting in the DA since the general election in May. In that poll, the party’s support declined for the first time since its formation in 2000, dropping from 22.23% in 2014 to 20.7%.

The departure of former president Jacob Zuma had potentially far-reaching consequences for opposition parties. Zuma was the gift that kept on giving: electoral support for the ANC declined steadily under his watch due to ineptitude and scandals that opposition parties could easily have exploited. His departure left parties more reliant on the strength of their own offering to the electorate...

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