Election outcomes often seem obvious and inevitable in retrospect. It needs to be remembered, however, that in this election the DA had to contend with the emergence of a significant new opposition party in Cope, and simultaneously had to compete for votes with almost every other opposition party and mount a nationwide challenge to the ANC. It was therefore never inevitable that the DA would experience the kind of growth that we have.
Our success in this election is a consequence of many factors, including Helen Zille’s inspired leadership, the repositioning of the party as a truly South African entity with the ability to win power off the ANC, and the efficiency with which our structures implemented the campaign.
Having said that, it remains the case that our greatest challenge going forward is to win more support from black South Africans. We will continue to work towards this objective with renewed determination. It is also the case that the DA has for many years now promoted the idea of a realignment of South African politics. We remain committed to this project but will insist that any realignment is based on an authentically shared commitment to the values of the open, opportunity society for all, because that vision is the only sustainable alternative to the ANC’s national democratic revolution.
We believe that we have done as well as we possibly could have in the context of this election and are therefore most pleased with the outcome. This result lays the groundwork for the future. In 2011 we hope to win cities and municipalities across the country, and this will form the basis of a sustained challenge on the national level in 2014. We would like to thank the nearly 3 million South Africans who voted for our vision of an open, opportunity society for all. We are grateful for their support and will pursue the mandate they have given us with vigour.
Excerpt from An Analysis of the DA’s performance:
The National Ballot:
• The DA grew by 34.7% (1 014 628 votes; 4.29 percentage points and 17 seats – to 67).
• This is the third election in a row the DA has grown. It is the only party to have done this.
• The DA is more than double the size of the next biggest opposition party (9.24 percentage points and 1.6 million votes bigger).
• The DA’s growth, of over 1 million votes, is bigger than that of any other party.
The DA was the only party to grow in the National Assembly (leaving aside COPE and the APC, which both started from a 0% base). Every other party represented lost support:
• ACDP: down by 0.79 percentage points (from 1.60 to 0.81)
• ANC: down by 3.78 (from 69.68 to 65.90)
• AZAPO: down by 0.05 (from 0.27 to 0.22)
• ID: down by 0.81 (from 1.73 to 0.92)
• IFP: down by 2.42 (from 6.97 to 4.55)
• MF: down by 0.10 (from 0.35 to 0.25)
• PAC: down by 0.46 (from 0.73 to 0.27)
• UCDP: down by 0.38 (from 0.75 to 0.38)
• UDM: down by 1.43 (from 2.28 to 0.85)
• FF+: down by 0.06 (from 0.89 to 0.83)
10 Year Comparison:
(In 2000 the Democratic Party merged with the New National Party and the Federal Alliance to form the Democratic Alliance. In 2003 a small faction of NNP members crossed the floor back into the NNP, and later merged that party with the ANC.)
• Since 1999 the DP/DA has grown by 1 418 492 votes and 7.1 percentage points, more than any other party.
• In 2004 the DA grew by 403 864 votes (26.4%) and, in 2009, by 1 014 628 votes (34.7%).
The Provincial Ballot:
• The DA grew in eight out of nine provinces, increasing the total number of DA seats in provincial legislatures from 51 in 2004, to 65 in 2009. It is represented by at least two members in every legislature:
• Eastern Cape: Grew by 37.6% or 61 525 votes, to 10.0%
• Free State: Grew by 39.8% or 34 130 votes, to 11.6%
• Gauteng: Grew by 28.3% or 200 535 votes, to 21.9%
• KwaZulu-Natal: Grew by 39.3% or 89 702 votes, to 9.1%
• Mpumalanga: Grew by 26.0% or 20 085 votes, to 7.5%
• North West: Grew by 36.7% or 23 803 votes, to 8.2%
• Northern Cape: Grew by 44.0% or 15 520 votes, to 12.6%
• Western Cape: Grew by 138.3% or 587 736 votes, 51.5%
The Western Cape:
• The DA won an outright majority (51.5%) on the Western Cape provincial ballot and a majority in the legislature (22 out of the 42 seats).
• Its growth in this province has been significant, not just in the 2009 election but in the 2004 election that preceded it.
• In 2004 the DA grew by 124% or 235 649 votes to 27.1%, in 2009 it exceeded even that, growing by 138% or 587 736 votes and capturing in excess of 1 million votes in the province.
10 Year Comparison:
In the past three elections, the number of seats the DP/DA has won in provincial legislatures has systematically increased, from 35 in 1999, to 51 in 2004, to 65 in 2009.