Wed. Jul 24th, 2019

South African Elections: How likely are the DA to keep the Western Cape?

Western Cape South African Elections DAThere will be no battleground more closely contested that the Western Cape in the South African Elections of 2019. But what chance do the DA have, here?

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This is your 30-day warning, voters of Mzansi. The South African Elections of 2019 are less than a month away. There are still plenty of undecided voters who are waiting to be wowed by our politicians, as reports emerge that more and more citizens are likely to flip-flop between chosen parties. That’s likely to be the case in the Western Cape, too.

The province has been under the control of the Democratic Alliance since the elections of 2014 when they took the Cape with a 59% majority of the vote. However, the south-west is going to be the key battleground during this year’s ballot – the ruling provincial government aren’t forecast to receive as much support this time around.

South African Elections: How the Western Cape is won

There are a total of 42 constituencies across the province. Residents of each region (West Coast District, Central Karoo District etc) vote for their preferred party or candidate through the “proportional representation” method.

In other words, each voter casts a vote for one political party, and seats in the legislature are allocated to the parties in proportion to the number of votes received. So the DA’s 59% in 2014 earned them 26 out of the 42 available seats in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament.

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Blue = DA | Green = ANC | Red dots = respective seats held by the EFF, ACDP – Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The ANC took 32.8% of the vote, earning themselves 14 seats. The EFF (2.1%) and African Christian Democratic Party (1%) both took a seat each. Interestingly enough, all other parties received 4% of all votes cast in the Cape, but the likes of Freedom Front Plus and Cope couldn’t get enough individual support to take a seat in the house.

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How the votes were shared in the Western Cape during the South African Elections of 2014 (by percentage) – Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Why the DA could lose their majority in WC

However, the political landscape has evolved rapidly over the past five years. Things have certainly accelerated over the past 18 months in the Western Cape, too. The water crisis and in-fighting with Patricia de Lille looks like it has upset the apple-cart of the elected provincial government.

In the latest Institute of Race Relations (IRR) poll, the DA now holds just 50.1% of the vote. Their majority hangs by the thinnest of threads. The survey was conducted in March and reflects the true scale of the task ahead of the Blues, who will certainly not be “romping home” to victory this time.

Meanwhile, the DA’s loss is likely to be everyone else’s gain. The ANC’s support has sneaked-up to 34%, whereas Freedom Front Plus and ACDP are showing improvement, according to the IRR. The EFF are also set for a major boost, as their national support base will reportedly double from what it was five years ago.

Who will the DA consider a coalition with?

What is perhaps most troubling for the DA is the threat of Patricia de Lille’s Good Party. They are already accounting for 2.5% of the electorate’s intentions, despite only forming a few months ago. If they lose that 50% majority and need to form an alliance with someone else to retain power, it’s highly unlikely de Lille will let bygones be bygones.

If the last five years has taught us anything, it’s that the DA and EFF can no longer govern together with a facade of civility. The two have previously formed alliances in Nelson Mandela Bay and Tshwane, but both have ended in an extremely sour manner.

South African Elections: Will the DA hold on to the Western Cape?

As it stands, the Democratic Alliance are marginal favourites cling on to power in the Cape, even if its by the skin of their teeth.

Critics have lambasted the party for their reliance on discussing the ANC’s failures, so the DA will have to use this next month to convince voters in WC exactly why they are worth sticking with. The party are perhaps best reminded that it is best to stand for something, rather than against anything.

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