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Selfe: Inevitable DA would lose some support to FF Plus

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it was inevitable some of its supporters would leave the party for the Freedom Front Plus

Voting booths setup in the hall of the Pinelands Primary voting station for the 2019 elections on 8 May 2019. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The Democratic Alliance (DA) said that it was inevitable that some of its supporters would leave the party for the Freedom Front Plus after it repositioned itself to not only appeal to minority voters.

The FF Plus has doubled its support base this election - currently in fifth place - with 2.46% of the vote.

The DA said it wanted to appeal to all South Africans and not only conservative voters.

The party's James Selfe explains: “It’s part of the repositioning of the party and we will have to learn the lessons from this election.

“We need to engage in certain introspection, we need to see where we lost votes and we need to apply those lessons to the next election campaign.”

CLIMBING THE CHARTS

The Freedom Front Plus, a party established in the weeks just after the first South Africa democratic elections, has been recording impressive numbers with each election.

Currently led by Pieter Groenewald, the party defined itself as the only one “actively taking a stance against the current racial discrimination and a stance for a better dispensation and future”.

But it was the party’s support growth at the polls that caught the eyes of many.

In the general elections in 1999, it recorded 127,217 votes nationally; since then its support has been growing exponentially.

In the following elections in 2004, FF Plus received 139,465 votes and 146,796 in 2009.

That steady improvement brought the party to 165,715 in 2014. But by 8:30 pm on Thursday, a day after South Africans cast their ballots in the 2019 general elections, the FF+ was sitting on the fourth spot nationally with 256,166 votes in its bag - with just over 63% of the votes already counted.

It said earlier on Thursday that its increase in electoral support in the 2019 general elections was an indication that it was a party for all South Africans.

FF+ national head of elections Wouter Wessels told Breakfast with Bongani Bingwa on 702 on Thursday that it wasn’t true the party was only for conservative white people.

“I think that myth that is out there that we are an exclusive conservative party, and a party of the past, it is starting to change and this campaign has proven that. Since 2013, we’ve made inroads to actually change the perception of the party. If you go and look at our manifesto, the FF Plus is a party that provides solutions for a better future, not a better past.”

During its 2019 electioneering campaign, the party proposed solutions relating to five focus areas:

  • Fight back against expropriation without compensation;

  • Fight back against discrimination;

  • Fight back against crime;

  • Fight back against corruption, misappropriation and excessive taxes and levies - expose and eradicate all forms of corruption and misappropriation; and

  • Fight back against poor service delivery.

It said South Africa had faced “nothing but deterioration and despair” under the governing African National Congress (ANC).

“The ANC government has shown over the last 25 years that it does not deserve to govern this beautiful country and its people. Its recipe for nation building since 1994 flopped. South Africans truly deserve a new South Africa that will benefit all its people. The FF Plus aspires to a political system based on Christian values that are characterised by the principles of justice, truth, love of one's neighbour, respect for life, loyalty and a peaceful co-existence.”

Additional reporting by Winnie Theletsane.

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