13 June 2019

South Africa: DA Faces Four Months of Turmoil As an Organisational Review and Contestation for the Party's Top Job Loom

analysis

Just out of a bruising seven-month election campaign that saw the Democratic Alliance drop support at the polls for the first time in two decades, South Africa's largest opposition party now heads into a period of internal contestation. Up for grabs is the powerful job of the federal executive chairperson, effectively the organisational fulcrum, as DA structures are undergoing an internal fit-for-purpose review of systems, structures and policies. The next four months will be crucial in the (re)making of the DA. Or not.

It's been a grim election result for the DA, which for the first time in more than 20 years dropped its percentage of support. It wasn't that much in numbers -- down to 20.77% in 2019 from 22.23% in 2014 -- but this reversal of the upward polling trend was enough to cause deep concern. The DA message of where it governs, it governs best, and its positioning as the political party to unite South Africa failed to gain traction.

In the immediate aftermath of the election results, there was discordance. DA leader Mmusi Maimane individually took "full responsibility", while DA federal council chairperson Athol Trollip talked of collective responsibility in a move to dispel speculation of...

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