The DA used its federal congress at the weekend to declare its intention to lead a national coalition government after next year’s general election. Failing that, re-elected party leader John Steenhuisen said, the DA will do everything it can — presumably including getting into bed with the ANC — to head off a coalition between the ANC and the radical left EFF, a political pact the DA believes would destroy South Africa.

But can the DA expect to exercise real political power on the national stage next year? Opinion polls suggest it has clawed back many of the voters it lost in the 2019 poll — and then some. Its internal polling shows it’s likely to get about 26% of the national vote next year, and the ANC about 40%...

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