DA Western Cape premier candidate, Alan Winde, looks on to a display showing live election result updates at the ROC in Cape Town (Ethan Van Diemen, News24)
With about three-quarters of the votes in the Western Cape tallied, the DA remained confident that they would retain the province, but also admitted that some introspection was in order as they were unlikely to reach the highs of 2014's results.
Shortly after 16:00, the DA was at 54.9% of the counted votes.
In 2014, it had 59.3% of the votes. Earlier in the day, the party stood around 52%, but the DA's officials at the Western Cape electoral centre remained optimistic.
Most of the votes that still had to come in were from the bigger municipalities like the Cape Town metro, Stellenbosch, Drakenstein and George.
While provincial DA leader Bonginkosi Madikizela maintained that these areas contained DA strongholds, the ANC would also point to the large townships in these areas, where they expected to pick up more than a few votes.
Also, former DA provincial leader Patricia De Lille's GOOD party – which was at about 3% of the counted votes in the province – is an unknown quantity on the Cape Flats.
"I'm quite confident that we'll retain the province of the Western Cape," Madikizela said, with the board behind him showing the DA's percentage at 54.9%.
DA's Western Cape premier candidate Alan Winde noted that the DA was expected to get a lower percentage than in 2014.
"We're not at 60%, 59% that we were five years ago. The analysis, post this, we're going to have to reflect," he said, speaking to reporters in the Western Cape electoral centre.
"For me personally has been long and gruelling, but it has been really great to be part of a campaign on the ground – not in charge of one constituency now, but the whole province. So you get a good picture of where things are working, where investments are happening, where infrastructure has been built – where you can see change – but you also get the opposite side of the picture, where people are needing extra services."
Winde said he had "very frank discussions" with voters over the past couple of months and they told him where they believed the party had to change direction and what they are unhappy about.
"Now the results, when you're breaking it down ward by ward, you say now hang on, the voters are giving us a message," Winde said.
"The one thing about an election campaign is, voters give you a message with their vote."
Meanwhile, the FF Plus found some support in the Western Cape electorate, which the party's provincial leader Corné Mulder ascribes in part to white, Afrikaans-speaking voters' disenchantment with the DA.
Madikizela didn't read too much in this, for now.
"Until we see the total picture of the voting patterns it will be very difficult for us to make that conclusion. But I think we will look very closely in areas where we are weak as the DA and find the reason why," he told News24.
Asked about GOOD's prospects, especially on the Cape Flats, he said: "Does it really matter? Look, I mean, from where I'm sitting as the leader of the DA, we've proven beyond a reasonable doubt, we are not a personality cult as the DA. I mean, we're a party that is built on a brand of good governance. So no one is bigger than the party. And the showing from the DA clearly indicates that."
"So we are not really worried where other parties will end up. We'll maintain the province with an outright majority."
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