- The Democratic Alliance faces a tough challenge in its attempt to broaden its appeal to more black voters
- While Jacob Zuma was in power the DA used his alleged ties to corruption as a point of focus and a rallying cry for electoral support
- With the arrival of President Cyril Ramaphosa, the DA has lost a big chunk of its ammunition against the ruling ANC
The Democratic Alliance (DA) might come to rue the part it played in the ousting of former president Jacob Zuma. While Zuma was in power the official opposition party used his alleged ties to corruption and multitude of scandals to focus effective attacks on the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
While Zuma and his cronies remained in power there was a slight chance that the DA could win the 2019 general election, or at least garner enough support to form a coalition government. The arrival of President Cyril Ramaphosa has thrown doubt over those ambitions.
Ramaphosa is seen as a skilled and urbane leader who has brought real change to the ANC and is slowly but surely undoing some of the damage done by the Zuma administration.
Briefly.co.za gathered that during campaigning for the ANC presidency Ramaphosa ran on a promise to clean up the ANC and to stamp out corruption.
Ramaphosa has brought the same anti-corruption drive to the national government, which has taken away the DA’s biggest weapon against the ANC.
Ramaphosa has also made great strides in securing foreign investment and brought back economic confidence to the country.
If the DA is to mount a successful electoral challenge the party will have to find a new angle of attack on the ANC or will have to prove to the electorate that its policies are far superior to the ANC’s.
Thus far the DA has struggled to gain support among black voters, who make up 80% of the population. Many black people still see the DA as a white party and as shocking as it seems some black people in townships believe the DA wants to return the country to apartheid.
The DA is also doing itself no-favours by placing its reputation for good clean governance on the line with self-inflicted crises.
Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille is accused of wrongdoing by the party, with outside observers wondering if she is being targeted because she is a woman of colour. The party has also taken flack for how it handled the drought in the region.
In Nelson Mandela Bay the DA has gotten involved in fights with coalition partners. While the Johannesburg administration has been blighted by slow progress.
The DA will need to seriously overhaul its policies and image if it hopes to attract more black voters, something which at this moment in time looks unlikely.
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