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David van Tonder
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Just how white is the Democratic Alliance?

24 June 2015, 08:04
We often hear that the DA as a party only looks after the interests of white South Africans, and many South Africans still believe that the DA was complicit in apartheid.
Usually I would attempt to give people a history lesson to show them that the DA has its roots in the Democratic Party, which was a progressive liberal anti apartheid party. In recent times one could also point to the fact that the DA has elected Mmusi Miamane to their top position.
However I have decided to take a different approach, one which would put the DA's support, or their support from white South Africans in particular, to the test.
The data used throughout this article is sourced from Stats SA and .
In 2014 the DA received 4 091 583 votes on the national ballot, representing 22.2% of all votes cast.
According to Stats SA, South Africa had an estimated 54 million citizens in 2014. This represents a population growth of 4,13%  from 51 770 560 citizens which were recorded in the 2011 census. If we were to apply a 4.13% increase to 4 586 838 white South Africans(census 2011) then there were an estimated 4 770 311 white South Africans in 2014.
At this point it seems plausible that the DA has overwhelming support from white South Africans, seeing as there are more white South Africans than DA supporters. However there are a few variables which needs to be conciderd.


Voters aged under 18 - According to the Census 2011, 16.8% of all white South Africans were aged between the ages of 0 and 14. This would equate to 752 141 white South Africans in 2014.( It should be noted that Stats SA divides the population in to age groups, the first group is 0-14 and the second 15-65, hence the entire underaged population cannot be accounted for without guess work.)
It can thus be calculated that a total of 4 018 170 white South Arficans were eligible to vote in 2014.
Non voting electorate - In 2014 at total of 18 654 771 South Africans voted, representing 60% of the eligible voting electorate(of 31 million, Stats SA)
While we do not have exact figures in this section, one could argue that the voting/non voting electorate would have been more or less constant across colour lines. Therefore it can be calculated that a total of 40%(or 1 607 268) eligible white South Africans did not vote in 2014.
At this point we can deduct that a total of 2 410 902(4 018 170 - 1 607 268) white South Africans voted in 2014.
Support for Freedom Front Plus and other parties - In 2014 the FF+ received 165 751(0.9%) votes out of all ballots cast.
Lets say for arguments sake that 5% of the white voting electorate voted for any party other than the DA or FF+. We could calculate this amount to 120 545 votes.
We can thus deduct that the DA received a maximum of 2 124 606(2 410 902 - 165 751 - 120 545) votes from white South Africans

Is the DA's voters base dominated by white South Africans?

If we were to compare the figure calculated above, of 2 124 606, to the 4 091 584 votes received by the DA in 2014, it becomes clear that white South Africans makes up a maximum of 51.93% of the DA's total electoral support.


There was a time when the DA(or its predecessor, the DP) was dominated by white South Africans. There was a time when due to racist laws the DA, like every other parliamentary party, had only white supporters. However that time has passed.
Next year for the first time in the history of the party, white South Africans will likely represent less than half of their support base.
How a party that is born out of liberal anti apartheid roots, elects a black leader, and represents 1 966 978 non white South Africans, can be branded as a racist party that only looks out for the interests of white South Africans is beyond logic.
While I will likely never bring myself to support the DA due to differences in ideology, politics of colour has become tired out. It is time for the ANC and its supporters catch up to the realities of our time before they, like several liberation movements before them, gets left behind.
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