DA vows to come back stronger

Staff Writer | Jun 11, 2019
Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane concedes that the party’s results in the 8 May election were ‘deeply disappointing’.

The DA says it has ‘no other option’ than to come back from its electoral drubbing stronger than it had been.

This emerged after a meeting of the DA’s Federal Council. The party announced an organisational review.

The 8 May election saw the DA’s share of the national vote decline from 22.23% (89 seats in the National Assembly) in 2014, to 20.77% (84 seats in 2014). Maimane conceded in a statement that these results were ‘deeply disappointing’.

He warned that the challenges in the country – notably unemployment – were serious. He also drew attention to recent comments from within the ruling African National Congress (ANC) on changing the mandate of the South African Reserve Bank, and investigating a policy of quantitative easing. The DA viewed these ideas as ‘disastrous’, and said the bank’s independence was ‘sacrosanct’.

‘The root causes of the country’s economic woes are not monetary, they are political,’ said Maimane.

The DA statement also said that there was nothing to celebrate in the loss of voters – something at odds with sentiments previously expressed by some in the DA that those who had abandoned the party (predominantly for the Freedom Front Plus) represented an element the official opposition could do without.

The organisational review announced by the party would be chaired by former DA strategy head Ryan Coetzee, and its mandate would be to review the ‘party’s fitness to achieve its objective of building a constitutional liberal democratic alternative to the ANC’.

A recurring criticism of the DA in recent years has been its apparent loss of ideological direction, leading many to argue that it had abandoned its liberal roots.

Also announced at the weekend is the resignation of James Selfe as chair of the DA’s federal executive. Selfe will vacate the key post in October. He has held the powerful position for 19 years. His departure is expected to trigger intense lobbying for the election of a successor.

 

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