DA tipped to give ANC a run for its money

2009-03-26 00:00

Cape Town — Political analysts are predicting that the Democratic Alliance is poised to give the ANC and other political parties a shake-up in the upcoming national election, following the party’s landslide victories in two by-elections held in the Western Cape on Wednesday.

Institute for Democracy in SA (Idasa) analyst Judith February predicted yesterday that the ANC will lose its two-thirds majority while independent analyst Harold Pakendorf said he believes the outcome of the Cape by-elections could be a precursor to what happens in the April 22 poll.

In Mitchell’s Plain, the DA polled 79,4% — up from 37,8% in 2006 — while the Independent Democrats (ID) polled eight percent — a decrease from 38,7% in 2006 — and captured a seat previously held by the ID.

In Ward 2 in Parow, the DA won 96,5% of the vote — an increase from 83,1% in 2006 — while the ANC and Cope polled 1,3% and 2,2% respectively.

The DA said yesterday the results are a sign that the party is posed to win the Western Cape in the national poll, with DA leader Helen Zille predicting that, if all the DA’s voters turn out on the day, the party could take the province with an outright majority.

Pakendorf predicted yesterday that the DA will do considerably better, nationally, than the 12% it polled in the last national elections.

February told the Cape Town Press Club yesterday that she predicts a DA win in the Western Cape. “People see a leader and a person of integrity in Helen Zille. While one cannot look at a by-election as a marker of what will happen nationally, I think the DA will do very well, particularly in the Western Cape,” she said.

“I think there is a good chance the ANC will lose their two-thirds majority in this election. The press around the possible dropping of charges against Jacob Zuma could harm the party. The ANC must be very careful. If a deal is struck or charges against Zuma are dropped, this must be done in a way that is not out of step with how a lot of people are feeling.”

February said the ID under Patricia De Lille should be concerned about the future of the party.

“They have relied on a charismatic leader with integrity, and certainly De Lille has been that. But on ideology and where they are positioned on the political spectrum, there has been a weakness.’’

February said Cope is still an “unknown quantity” as a political party.

“There has been a lot of organisation, so whether that translates into numbers on election day is anyone’s guess …”

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