Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

DA questions accuracy of vote results

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille sent a tweet over the weekend saying a newspaper graphic on the local government election results was incorrect.

She pointed to a discrepancy in the national outcome of the elections, which gave the African National Congress (ANC) 63.65% of the vote, and the DA 21.9%. Zille said the results should have shown the ANC with 62.8% of the vote and the DA with 23.9%.

For the DA, this would mean the difference between attaining nearly a quarter of the public’s support and winning a fifth of this support.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has put the DA’s results at 21.9% and most media reports have reflected this figure. However, a statement released by the DA says its support sits at 24%.

As Business Day columnist Tim Cohen explains, the reason for this discrepancy is that the IEC calculated the percentage of support for parties based on an average from all the votes cast. This included a third vote that was given to people who reside in areas outside of metros. These votes count towards the election of a district council for that area.

Should these votes not be added into the final total, the DA would be sitting with 23.9% of votes, and the ANC would then have 62.8%.

DA strategist Ryan Coetzee says it is “standard practice” to average the numbers of the first and second ballot.

“You can only measure a party’s support by taking into account ballots that all people have had access to,” he added.

‘Wiping out’ smaller parties
During the 2006 local government elections the national results did not include votes for district councils. The ANC got 65.7% of the vote and the DA 16.3%.

The significance of these numbers is that the DA’s popularity has grown by more than 7%, while the ANC’s support base has decreased by 3%.

Zwelinzima Vavi, Congress of South African Trade Unions secretary general, said last week that the DA is not taking support from the ANC, but rather it, along with the Congress of the People, was “wiping out” smaller parties.

“No party is in trouble with 60%.”

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Deshnee Subramany
Deshnee Subramany is our loudest employee. After slogging through various positions in marketing, advertising, radio – and a cow suit – Deshnee finally found her way to the M&G as a content producer in 2010, and was then forced to grow up by filling the position of day editor of the website. Sometimes she puts on her radio voice and guest-hosts the M&G Newsroom.If she was a superhero she would be called the Feeding Frenzy. Her passion is South African politics and revolutions. This comrade loves setting her world alight by discovering new ideas and people, and isnt afraid to laugh the loudest.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Fears of violence persist a year after the murder of...

The court battle to stop coal mining in rural KwaZulu-Natal has heightened the sense of danger among environmental activists

Data shows EFF has lower negative sentiment online among voters...

The EFF has a stronger online presence than the ANC and Democratic Alliance

More top stories

Phoenix activist takes on Durban’s politically connected in November polls

Independent candidates look set to play a greater role in the metro municipality after 1 November

Libyan town clings to memory of Gaddafi, 10 years on

Rebels killed Muammar Gaddafi in his hometown of Sirte on 20 October 2011, months into the Nato-backed rebellion that ended his four-decade rule

Fishing subsidies in the W. Cape: ‘Illegal fishing is our...

Fishers claim they are forced into illegal trawling because subsidies only benefit big vessels

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…