[imagesource: Freddy Mavunda]
After the DA’s terrible showing in the 2019 national election, Mmusi Maimane was hung out to dry.
As party leader, that was always going to happen, and there was some vocal criticism from within his own party in the months before his ugly oustering.
You know things are bad when Carte Blanche runs a segment called ‘Turmoil in the DA’.
The criticism towards Maimane hasn’t stopped in the past few weeks, either, which resulted in a very public spat between Maimane and current interim leader, John ‘Judas’ Steehuisen.
The people are watching, and it appears the people don’t like what they are seeing.
The Daily Maverick hasn’t pulled any punches, running a story saying the DA is “in freefall”, and Steenhuisen isn’t a popular choice as leader:
The party is losing both white and black supporters, new research by Ipsos and Citizen Surveys provided to Daily Maverick has shown.
The Ipsos survey, based on a national and representative sample of respondents, shows that the DA’s support is at 13% while Citizen Surveys has found that interim party leader John Steenhuisen has only a 15% favourability rating.
Maimane had more than double this approval rating when he quit after an internal review by party grandés said he should resign after a poor showing in the 2019 national election.
According to Reza Omar, the research director of Citizen Surveys, next year’s municipal elections are “make or break” for the DA:
His research showed that each time the DA lost a leader such as Patricia de Lille and then Maimane, it lost support. “When De Lille left, she took a portion of support with her; then Maimane took a (further) portion,” said Omar.
“The DA is going to pieces. They have a big job in reorganising themselves,” said Ipsos director Mari Harris…
Tell me again how bringing Helen Zille back into the fray was a good decision?
Imagine being handed the horror show that is the ANC as your target, and then failing to capitalise on that year after year?
Then again, that also says a fair bit about South Africa’s voters.
Steenhuisen isn’t taking the results of those above studies lying down. In fact, he disputes them:
“Internal polling shows our support at the same level (of 20% which the party won in the 2019 national election). This notion that our support is tanking is not true,” said Steenhuisen…
Steenhuisen said the DA planned to build a new majority by 2024 by reaching across the political aisle to other parties (or cohorts within parties) which shared its values.
At the same time, he said the party would build its strategy on the belief that “The ANC is never going to fix SA and the DA is the only party (which can)”…
“The President has blown his last opportunity,” he said.
The Daily Maverick then notes that Ramaphosa’s approval rating, according to the Ipsos poll, stands at 62%.
Many of those voters leaving the DA are heading to the Freedom Front Plus. In a recent by-election in the North West municipal ward of Schweizer-Reneke, infamous for the ‘racially divided’ classroom photo that turned out to be bollocks, the numbers were staggering, with the FF+ taking 51% of the votes to the DA’s 14%.
Ultimately, after having made steady progress for close to 20 years, some recent decisions, and the ugly, drawn-out nature of some high-profile exits (and returns), the DA may just be running out of steam.
John Steenhuisen will disagree, as will other members of the DA, and fair enough because it’s their livelihoods on the line.
We really are nearing make or break time, and the numbers tend to point to one conclusion.
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