DA leader Mmusi Maimane has pleaded with voters to give the party a second chance in the next elections after a dismal failure at the polls this week.
The party leader appeared alongside the DA’s federal executive chairperson James Selfe and federal chairperson Athol Trollip at the IECs national results centre in Tshwane this afternoon.
As Maimane spoke, 86.88% of the national vote had been tallied, placing the official opposition at 21.3% on the leader board. It is a decline from the 22.23% the party garnered in 2014. The ANC currently stand at 57.9% with the EFF at 10.23%.
“We have a long-term journey and it may not have happened this time but, trust me, give us 2021, give us 2024, we will demonstrate to the people of this country that we can hold all South Africans together, make that offer and bring change to our nation which our nation so desperately needs,” Maimane said.
“We are going to work hard to get those votes. We are going to work hard to grow from here and be supportive of all South Africans. And change is not always easy. It is hard but we must pursue it; we must pursue it with everything we have. What we begin now is a project towards 2021.
"Elections will soon come again... I am actually excited that soon, very soon, we going back to Nelson Mandela Bay where ultimately vacancies have been declared and we are going to contest there.”
He said that the DA had a significant amount of votes.
“We will go back to take those seats and we will contest that municipality in the near future.”
All indications are that the bulk of the votes lost by the DA went to the Freedom Front Plus, which has made a comeback across the country, presumably over the DA’s wishy washy position on redress and the land question.
Trollip used the occasion to throw his weight behind Maimane, saying that the party leaders were taking collective responsibility for the failure.
“This was probably the most important and heavily contested election since 1994. Mmusi Maimane led a team and we all take responsibility but there is going to be no irresponsibility about the leadership.
"Mmusi Maimane is the leader of the DA, he will be the leader of the DA until the next congress and we believe, against a really really difficult background, he led a magnificent campaign.
"He has my support and he has the support of the party going forward into the next election which is 2021 and it is going to be a critical election. We will show there that we can grow again at local government level, take more cities in this country under his leadership,” Trollip said.