08/03/2018 07:17 SAST | Updated 08/03/2018 07:18 SAST

DA's Support Dips After Ramaphosa Election, De Lille Saga And WC Drought

The DA admits that the "game has changed" since Ramaphosa's election.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

Just 18 months before the next general election, the DA's support is trailing at pre-2016 levels, according to its own internal polling, Business Day reported on Thursday.

Its support levels are reportedly at 24.5 percent, despite expectations that it would be able to win Gauteng next year with 30 percent support in the country.

According to Business Day, there are several reasons for the party's decline in support, including the election of President Cyril Ramaphosa, the party's handling of the ground in the Western Cape and fighting over Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen told Business Day that while the party acknowledged that the "game has changed" since Ramaphosa's election, the DA did not foresee problems with its growth next year.

He said there was still room for the party to grow thanks to the ANC's policies on land and divisions in the ANC.

"We have to be honest that the game has changed ... Zuma made all parties lazy ... he was the best fundraiser and recruiter for all parties," Steenhuisen said, adding that the parties would have to return to "issue-based" politics.

The DA is also at loggerheads with its coalition partner, the EFF. The EFF has threatened to pull its support from the party if it does not remove mayor Athol Trollip from the Nelson Mandela Bay metro. The EFF also says it cannot support the DA because of its position on land reform.

Speaking at the DA's Mpumalanga provincial congress, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the party would never support the seizure of private property.

According to IOL, he said,

"All economic growth and advancement [require] the guarantee of property rights. If people do not feel secure that what they own will not be arbitrarily and coercively seized from them there will be no incentive to invest, to innovate, and to build productive businesses," he said.

Meanwhile, the DA has opened up nominations for its upcoming elective conference, TimesLive reported. Despite rumours that Steenhuisen would challenge current federal executive chairman James Selfe for the position, Steenhuisen said this was not true.

Selfe also reportedly received support from the leader of the party in KwaZulu-Natal, Zwakele Mngcwango.

"Maybe in the next congress after 2019‚ we can then think about someone [to replace Selfe]‚" said Mngcwango.