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Zille planning for local polls

2014-05-10 14:54
(News24)
Cape Town - Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said her party would start planning for the 2016 local government elections from Monday, as she arrived back in the Western Cape to celebrate winning an outright majority here.

"We will take tomorrow off to give thanks for this great victory, but on Monday we start working for 2016," Zille said after landing at Cape Town International Airport.

"We are the only party that grew. Everybody else went backwards in this election," she said to a group of about 250 DA supporters in their blue T-shirts who had waited in the rain to welcome her home.

"People used to say we are a party of minorities. Well we got more than one million new votes and 700 000 of those votes are from black South Africans who have never voted for the DA before.

"We have broken the ceiling."

Zille said 40% of the party's new black voters were from Gauteng, showing that spending a large portion of its campaign budget in the province had paid off.

"It was a completely worthwhile investment and we had a fantastic return on that investment."

DA researchers say they had calculated the increase in black support by using official census date data to determine the demographics of voter districts.

The party had hoped that its premier candidate Mmusi Maimane would succeed the ANC's Nomvula Mokonyane. Expectations are that Maimane will now be heading to Parliament instead.

Zille effusively thanked her supporters in Afrikaans for the increase in the party's majority in the Cape.

"The blue wave is washing across the whole country because it started here in this city. We will turn this country around one day to a model of democracy," she said.

Earlier, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille said she was ready to return to the position.

"If the people of Cape Town want me," she said.

"When we won the metro in 2011 with 61%, that paved the way for us," said De Lille.

The DA won 59.2% of the provincial vote, increasing its outright majority in the Western Cape.

The African National Congress (ANC) improved its support base somewhat and garnered 33.04% of the vote.

Nationally, the DA increased its support in the 2014 elections from 16.66% in 2009 to 22.23% to become the official opposition to the ANC which received a reduced majority mustering 62.15% compared with 2009 and 65.9% of the vote.

The results are expected to be confirmed at 6pm on Saturday by the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC).

The party will have to square up to the ANC's Marius Fransman, who will return to the province as the leader of the official opposition.

The former deputy international relations minister said he was excited about returning to the province and building the ANC structures ahead of the 2016 municipal elections.

Zille will also have to contend with the Economic Freedom Fighters which should get at least one seat in the province's legislature.

Its president Julius Malema once called her the "madam" of the "tea girl" Lindiwe Mazibuko, DA leader in Parliament, when he was still leader of the ANC Youth League.

He made the remarks when turning down an invitation to debate with Mazibuko.

- SAPA

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