DA ‘elated’ at turnout

The Democratic Alliance says it is “elated” with the way the voting results have turned out so far and that the party is not surprised at the relative success of Patricia de Lille’s new Independent Democrats.

Speaking to the Mail & Guardian Online on Thursday, DA spokesperson Douglas Gibson said: “I think the DA is elated at the vote of confidence which the voters have given to us and our campaign. We started on nine percent and not a single political pundit or prediction gave us 11% or 12% of the vote, and we will end substantially better than that.”

The ANC so far looks set to easily win a two-thirds majority, with the DA comfortably in the opposition seat. The next parties in line are the IFP, ID and NNP, but they have yet to break through the double-digit percentage mark. Early signs are that the ID will pass the NNP.

Gibson said that the DA’s own internal polls predicted that the ID would in fact perform even better than they have so far performed.

“The fact remains that they have done well in their first outing and will be interesting to see whether they play a proper role in Parliament representing interests of those who voted for them,” he said.

The DA was criticised heavily in the run-up to the elections for its aggressive criticism of De Lille and just about every other political party, referring to the ID repeatedly in their radio adverts as a “one woman party”.

De Lille has repeatedly said that the DA’s campaign back-fired, serving to generate more publicity for her own party.

Many experts predicted that dissatisified liberal voters would defect to De Lille’s party, particularly in the Western Cape, a DA stronghold.

Speaking about the DA’s campaign tactics, Gibson said: “We have been criticised not by our supporters but by our opponents. Our campaign was aimed at ensuring we create a real alternative to the ANC, together with our coalition for change partners, the IFP. We feel we have succeeded in that.”

Gibson said the results are starting to show that the NNP had no viability outside the Western Cape. Early results point to heavy losses, countrywide, for the NNP.

“If Mr Van Schalkwyk has an honourable bone is his body, he should resign today… the NNP’s supporters have taken vengeance against Van Schalkwyk in that he reneged on his mandate and looked after his own narrow interests instead of those who voted for him,” said Gibson.

Gibson said there would be no option of a renewed alliance with the depleted NNP, saying: “They are not to be trusted”.

“The next five years will be used for three purposes. One is doing our job as the opposition to criticise and oppose that needs oppose. Two, to continue advancing alternative policies and solutions and getting the ANC to accept them, and three, working towards creating a new majority in South Africa,” said Gibson.

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