DA leader Mmusi Maimane reacts at the IEC Results Operations Centre. (Photo by Phill Magakoe/AFP)
The official opposition in Gauteng is confident that it will be able to keep the ANC's support in the province below 50%.
"We had two objectives: that we were going to be the majority party in Gauteng, and that we want to bring the ANC below 50%.
"We see that happening now. There are still some major areas to be counted which are both ANC and DA strongholds, so we are on a knife's edge over here to see how both parties fare," DA leader in Gauteng, John Moodey, told News24 at the Gauteng results centre in Auckland Park, Johannesburg on Friday.
At 12:22, 1 750 out of 2 771 voting districts had been counted, which translates to 63.15%.
While the ANC remains in the lead with more than one million votes, its support dipped below 50% from 10:00 on Friday.
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At 12:24, the ANC's support was sitting at 49.41%, with the DA trailing behind at 28.63% and the EFF in third place with 13.85%.
"I personally believe that we will be able to keep the ANC below 50% and I'm fairly optimistic that we will come back as the DA in terms of the numbers that we had in 2014," Moodey said as he kept a close eye on the results board.
Results, however, are yet to be tallied in full in Gauteng's metros, the City of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni, where both the ANC and DA claim to have strongholds.
The party lost the Tshwane and Johannesburg metros to the DA in the 2016 municipal elections.
The DA in 2014 achieved 30.48% support in the province.
An interesting twist in Gauteng is the growth of Freedom Front Plus, which was sitting at 3.95% as at 12:30.
Moodey admits that the FF Plus' growth is due to the DA's significant loss of support in the province.
'New voter' target market
"We have lost support to the FF Plus, which is a substantial amount. I think that 25 years on in our democracy and also with the advent of nationalism across the globe, the fear factor of expropriation without compensation, the language issue, etc has an impact upon people's thinking, so the first place they look at is: 'Where do I go to have my rights protected?'
"The default would be that I look to my own. The FF Plus' campaign is a very strategic one of 'Swart Gevaar' and of course, we have that swing over of voters," he explained.
As a result, the official opposition has strategically moved towards a "new voter" target market.
"You never want to lose market share in any particular environment. What we have to look at is our gain in the other minorities; the black, coloured and Indian vote.
"The future of the Democratic Alliance relies in us growing the new vote target market, which is the townships, cause that is the only place we can grow to become a party in governance," he said.
The Gauteng DA leader could not comment on whether the official opposition would go into a coalition in the province.
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