Opinion

Q&A with DA federal executive council chair Athol Trollip

The DA has lost support for the first time since 1994. Chris Barron asked the chair of the DA federal executive council, Athol Trollip.

12 May 2019 - 00:00 By CHRIS BARRON


Are you contemplating a leadership overhaul?
Absolutely not.
Aren't your results a vote of no confidence in the leadership?
This has been the most contested election since 1994, and in those circumstances I think the DA has done well to shed 1% of its support.
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Could circumstances possibly have been more favourable for the DA without the ANC actually volunteering to step down?No, they couldn't have been. But here's the irony. SA has still voted in the majority for the ANC. It shows that the people will vote ANC come hell or high water.Do you need to do some serious soul-searching?I think South African voters need to do some soul-searching.Surely the bottom line here is that you're failing to capitalise on the massive advantages the ANC has handed you?People wrote us off before this election and said we'd get 15%. We got 22%, which is a hell of an achievement.
It's the first time since 1994 that you've gone backwards.
That happens to political parties.
And when it happens don't you have to take a close look at your leadership?
We will definitely take a close look at our strategy. Our leadership is elected every three years. Mmusi Maimane is elected until 2021. He's the second-most popular politician in SA by a country mile and 3-million people voted for his party.
Why has it had so little impact in rural areas?
I think you must look at the figures.
I'm looking at the Eastern Cape, where you got 15%.
We're very proud of that. Has any other party made significant inroads in the Eastern Cape?
The ANC's destroyed so many towns across the Eastern Cape, but you're still not getting through to the people there.
There's your answer. Cyril Ramaphosa went to Grahamstown. He couldn't have picked a worse town that has disintegrated to a shambles and the people still voted for him in the majority. So it's a reflection on the voters that they're prepared to accept that kind of mediocrity and maladministration.
So what's your counter-strategy? Throw your arms up and say there's nothing you can about it?Please don't put words in my mouth, I never said that. Our counter-strategy will emerge as from Monday morning when we meet as a federal executive. We'll assess why we've lost support, and reflect on the fact we were able to grow our support in places like Soweto from 5% to 13%. That's a significant achievement.You were optimistic about taking Gauteng, weren't you?If we went into this election not being optimistic about winning then we may as well have packed up. We're swimming against a tide of racial nationalism and populism.Not making much progress?We're the second-biggest party, the next one is half our size.And closing in fast in Gauteng?We're still more than double their size.Would you consider a coalition with the ANC in Gauteng?We'll consider a coalition with any party that shares our values.

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