Pretoria, May 9, 2014-The Democratic Alliance has seen an increase in the number of black supporters, the party said on Friday.
“We grew our support among black South Africans from 0.8 percent in 2009 to approximately six percent in 2014,” party leader Helen Zille told reporters at the Electoral Commission of SA’s (IEC) national results operations centre in Pretoria.
“Roughly 760,000 black South Africans voted for the DA.”
Zille said 40 percent of the votes were won in Gauteng. She added that the number of black DA voters was more than the Inkatha Freedom Party, National Freedom Party, Pan Africanist Congress, and United Christian Democratic Party combined.
It was also more than any other party besides the African National Congress and Economic Freedom Fighters.
“Twenty percent of our votes in this election were cast by black South Africans. The DA is the only party that has grown consistently in every election since 1994 when we won just 1.7 percent,” she said.
Other parties had come and gone but the DA kept winning and growing, Zille said.
“We are stronger, and bigger than ever.”
The results were an indication that people’s political attitudes were changing, and more people were moving away from race as a voting determinant.
“This is encouraging for the future of our democracy,” said Zille.
Meanwhile,Cope leader Terror Lekota had to swallow his words and “eat a hat” on Friday after preliminary results showed that the party lost votes compared to 2009.
“I did not say I will finish the hat when I made a commitment to eat a hat… it was out of faith and a belief for members of Cope,” he told journalists after he was handed an EFF beret and a grey hat to choose from.
The hats were offered, with tomato sauce on hand.
He declined to chew on the EFF beret and took the grey hat and bit it, much to the laughter from journalists and party officials.
Lekota promised in an interview during the election campaign to “eat a hat” should his party receive less votes than it did in the 2009 elections.
The Congress of the People, a breakaway from the ANC, had received 120,060 votes just after 1pm.
The party received over a million votes in 2009.
Lekota said the party would hold committee meetings to assess the campaign and the status of the party.