The DA, which lost significant support of white voters to parties such as the Freedom Front Plus on the right, also lost support in key townships, an analysis by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has found.
The CSIR found that the DA lost support in townships such as Soweto, Alexandra and Langa in last week’s polls, denting its leadership’s goal to grow the party. The results meant Mmusi Maimane became the first leader of the party who could not grow its footprint in parliament – which his predecessors Helen Zille and Tony Leon did.
The CSIR analysed selected areas in SA following the bruising general elections, in which both the DA and the ANC lost support nationally and in the key province of Gauteng. The opposition party had hoped to do well in the province and the Northern Cape after putting up a strong performance in the 2016 local government election.
The 2016 election saw it governing the key metros of Tshwane, Johannesburg and, for a while, the Nelson Mandela Bay metro through coalitions with smaller opposition parties.
The DA especially took critical knocks in Gauteng and in the Western Cape, its traditional support base.
It grew only marginally in the Free State, Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, after it failed to meet most of the election targets it had set for itself.
It only succeeded in retaining the Western Cape, albeit with a reduced majority. It also fell below the 2014 levels of support it received in Gauteng, and far below the support it received during the 2016 local government election.
According to the analysis, the DA lost significant support in suburbs such as Centurion and Garsfontein in Tshwane. It also failed to up its share of the vote in Soweto, Alexandra and Diepsloot in Johannesburg where it fell below the support it held during the local government election in 2016.
In Soweto, the DA fell from 6.7% of the vote in 2014 and 9.1% in 2016 to 5.8% in 2019.
In Alexandra, which saw service delivery protests in the lead-up to the elections, the DA fell from 6.9% in 2014 and 8.5% in 2016 to 5.2% in 2019.
In Diepsloot the DA marginally grew from 4.3% in 2014 to 4.6% in 2019. The party however dropped in support from the 7.3% it got in the 2016 local government election.
The ANC, in contrast, grew in Alexandra and Diepsloot from both 2014 and 2016 levels, while it also grew in Soweto to above the local government election levels.
In Khayelitsha, the DA fell way below the support it received in 2016, which was 8.7% of the vote, to 3.1% in 2019. It was however higher than the 2014 poll in which it received only 2.8%. In Langa the party fell below the 2014 (2.7%) and 2016 (6.5%) levels, to receive just 2.3% of the vote.
Following a very public spat with its former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille in 2018, the DA fell significantly in support in both Mitchells Plain and Grassy Park, which is on the Cape Flats.
In Mitchells Plain the DA got 71.4%, down from 85% in 2016 and 84.4% in 2014. In Grassy Park the party received 68.3%, down from 84.1% in 2014 and 84.6% in 2016.
The ANC, De Lille’s party Good and the African Christian Democratic Party were all beneficiaries of the DA’s losses in both Mitchells Plain and Grassy Park.