In claiming that a vote for a smaller party is a wasted vote, the DA simultaneously displays contempt for multi-party democracy as well as political amnesia.
To date, our electoral history shows that through coalitions, opposition parties, irrespective of size, have succeeded in wresting power from the ANC. Famously, Helen Zille became mayor of Cape Town in 2006 with a one-seat majority. That single seat was provided by a councillor representing the Freedom Front Plus.
In questioning the worth of a party with only one or two elected representatives the DA conveniently forgets that in many areas its representation is no greater than a single, solitary councillor – lone rangers, as the DA calls them – who acquit themselves well. The DA’s predecessor, the DP, had only two representatives in the 81 seat KZN legislature until the 1999 election.
Therefore, it is politically irresponsible to rubbish smaller parties by claiming they are spoilers which deny a larger opposition party like the DA a clear run in opposing the ANC. Opposing the ANC is a cause that is not exclusive to one party. Thus, coalition-building among opposition parties with fairly common policies is the sensible and democratic way to challenge the ruling party. Helen Zille proved that in 2006.
Sent into The Mercury, The Star, The Daily News and The Witness and published 6 April 2019.