The Democratic Alliance (DA) is the official opposition party in South Africa. It’s created in June 2000 through the amalgamation of many parties and movements that came together over the years and united around the vision of “one nation with one future built on freedom, fairness, opportunity and diversity for all South Africans.”
The party was previously known as the Democratic Party (DP). The relationship however between the DP and NNP was an uneasy one. Both parties eventually went their separate ways when the NNP decided to enter into an alliance with the governing-ANC. The party espouses liberal democracy and free-market principles.
According to history, the party originated from the Progressive Party (PP) – a breakaway from the United Party which was unwilling to confront apartheid head-on. Among its early leaders were Jan Steytler and Helen Suzman.
With the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, the DP played a vital role in negotiating a constitution that includes most of the principles and ideals the Progressive Party first stood for in 1959.
In the 1995 municipal elections under Tony Leon, the DP performed well and later overtook NP to become the largest opposition party in the country in the 1999 general election.
In the 2004 general election, the DA gained 12.3% of the vote, winning 50 seats in the National Assembly.
Helen Zille took over as party leader in May 2007 after Leon stepped down. She trounced the other two candidates (Atholl Trollip and Joe Seremane).
The party will make further gains in the 2014 elections, with the DA winning 22.23% of the national vote and 89 seats in the National Assembly, and attaining another outright majority in the Western Cape with 59.38%.
In 2015, Mmusi Maimane was elected the new leader of the DA. With Maimane, the party will make historic gains in the 2016 local government elections with 26.9% of the votes, 3% better than the 2011’s score.
The DA now governs the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape province, it has also unseated the ANC to form governments in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay for the first time.
Maimane resigned as party leader in October 2019. John Steenhuisen is the current leader of the party following its Federal Congress in November 2020.
The party adopts liberal democracy and free-market principles.
2011 Local Government Elections
DA got 6 393 890 Ward and PR votes. This means the party drew 23.94% of the total vote, translating to 1555 seats nationwide.
The DA’s voter support increased slightly between the 2011 and 2016 Local Government Elections. It gained about 2% between the period, climbing to 26.9%.
The DA only lost support in Mpumalanga over this period but gained support in all other provinces.