Political power in a democracy is essentially a numbers game. And it’s one that may come to haunt SA’s official opposition. In the aftermath of the DA’s dismal national electoral performance in 2019 — where the party’s support dropped from a high of 27% in the 2016 local government election to 20.7% — it chose a surprising path: to abandon its growth strategy in favour of winning back the minority groups it feared it had lost.

Politically, it made no sense, not least because those groups, numerically, could make no difference to its electoral performance, at least not in the by-elections that have taken place since then...

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