ANALYSIS: Land, race and Ramaphosa: How a shift in the white vote is affecting the DA

2019-05-09 09:51
Election in South Africa
Election in South Africa.

With election results slowly trickling in, some remarkable shifts in voting patterns are starting to crystallise.

In the Western Cape, where News24 has projected that the DA will hang on to its majority, the party will also hit a historical high among black voters, while the ANC will likely hit a historical low.

"The DA will get the most black votes ever as a proportion of the vote, and so will the EFF. Both parties will likely hit 9% among black voters in the province," says News24 elections analyst Dawie Scholtz.

Nationally, however, the DA has shed some of its support to the Freedom Front Plus, who is up to 3% or 4% of the vote.

"I think there's a few issues at stake here," says former ANC MP and political analyst Melanie Verwoerd.

"In the last election the DA ran a very effective anti-Zuma campaign. They urged people to form a united front against Jacob Zuma and not to waste their vote on smaller parties. This time around, the majority of white people don't have a big problem with Cyril Ramaphosa, so that argument doesn't hold. Afrikaans people like Ramaphosa, and are now rather going back to a party that represents their interests better.

"The DA, who is more liberal and English, doesn't sit that well with many Afrikaans people, especially when it comes to things like schooling and language. Expropriation without compensation really scared them and the DA was at times a bit iffy on this whereas the FF+ made it a big deal."

News24's current projections give the FF+ up to 15%-18% of the white vote in the inland provinces, all of which is coming from former DA support.

"That is a real shift in the white electorate and complicates the DA's math. They're losing white votes but getting black votes," says Scholtz.

According to him, race is still a major factor when people decide how to vote.

"It's very explicitly racial. The DA is talking about race-based redistribution. They are making noises about BEE. Conservative white voters very actively oppose those things and that's what it fundamentally comes down to. At a policy level, many white voters are just not comfortable with where the DA is going with this and it's been coming for a while."

Patricia de Lille's GOOD party may have also eaten into the coloured vote in the Western Cape and is expected to get about 4% here. This will be offset somewhat by the DA's extra votes from high turnout and black support in the province.

The ANC's poor performance in the province comes as no surprise.

"As much as the DA was a lesson in self destruction, the Western Cape ANC has just done it over a longer term," says Verwoerd. "They have had leadership issues for a long time. They're disorganised, they have no money, and have had massive fallouts. One of the most telling things in their campaign was that while Ramaphosa was talking about anti-corruption at one event, they announced that they were taking money from Iqbal Survé. They then said they were giving the money back. Then Survé said they have not given the money back. It's just a mess."

News24 will make more projections as reliable and tested data becomes available.

 

Read more on: da  |  ff plus  |  elections 2019

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