Moodey, Ollis face off in race for top DA post in Gauteng
John Moodey and Ian Ollis face off in the Democratic Alliance’s Gauteng elective conference on Saturday. The Mail & Guardian ask the each why he should be chosen to lead the party in South Africa’s wealthiest and most populous province.
What qualifies you to lead the DA in Gauteng?
John Moodey: The DA has recognised Gauteng as a strategic province in terms of ultimately governing South Africa. I am an experienced politician and activist. Given my experience as a trade unionist, community leader and civic activists, I have the necessary expertise to take up the challenge of achieving growth in the new target market, creating a new majority party.
Ian Ollis: With over 14 years’ experience in the party, my ability to drive issues in the public discourse, as demonstrated with my strike violence private members’ Bill and the DA’s domestic workers campaign, together with my strategic thinking and ability to constantly come up with new ideas and vision for the province. Old ideas need to be replaced with fresh thinking and a dynamic vision.
Why should DA members put their trust in you?
John Moodey: Step by step, I have risen through the ranks of the DA from branch chairperson to provincial leader. I would not have been approached to avail myself to contest the provincial leadership position, if prominent members did not have trust in my ability.
Ian Ollis: Trust is something that is earned with hard work and speaking the truth over many years. I have endeavoured to work hard in the DA as a volunteer, a city councillor, a member of Parliament, a fundraising chairperson and member of the Gauteng South regional executive and provincial executive, as well as other positions I have held. I have endeavoured to always be honest in my dealings with party members including during election campaigns.
The DA has traditionally failed to gain any meaningful support among South Africa’s previously disadvantaged—how do you plan to address this issue in Gauteng?
John Moodey: Along with my experience within the DA, I know the target market, and I grew up in the townships. The DA needs to gain the trust and respect of the voters we need to attract; that can only happen if we are on the ground taking up and championing their issues, which is largely ignored by their ANC councillors. We need to show that we care and that we will make a positive difference in their lives. I will also seek out, attract and retain the support of strong leaders in the different communities who can strengthen our cause and brand in their respective communities.
Ian Ollis: People are tired of hearing about apartheid and being classified racially. I am committed to, and have already demonstrated, my ability to listen to the public in all constituencies and to come up with unique answers to their felt needs. Such as working to change the law to provide workman’s compensation for domestic workers, and my project to interview and understand mostly black entrepreneurs. This addresses real needs of people and also opens up a forum for people to discuss their political views. By showing that the DA is listening and caring, people begin to engage on how they will vote and this allows us to convince them of the need for the opposition party to be in power to deliver on their needs.
What is your vision for Gauteng over the next decade?
John Moodey: My vision for Gauteng over the next decade is firstly that it is DA-governed and that the levels of service delivery are improved. That Gauteng’s waning competitive edge as the economic heart of South Africa and of sub-Saharan Africa is restored and strengthened. An improved and strengthened economy will address the worrying issues of unemployment and poverty.
Ian Ollis: Gauteng is the economic hub of South Africa and Southern Africa. It needs a government that cares for the poor, delivers services and uplifts communities through strategic interventions. The goal must be for world class services and a safe and clean environment, with educational and medical institutions that function well and are well resourced. The 377 DA politicians in Gauteng get up every morning to fight for that cause and I will support them in their work to get government to work.
How would you approach the furore over the proposed implementation of e-tolling on the province’s highways?
John Moodey: The DA caucus in the Gauteng Legislature of which I am a member has been in the forefront of the campaign against e tolling. We are also the initiators of the legal action planned to stop the implementation thereof.
Ian Ollis: I am convinced that the DA must oppose this project on the basis of the total lack of adequate financial planning and modelling. It is a huge waste of taxpayers’ money. I have called for an inquiry into the Billions of Rand that will be spent in collecting the toll fees which will be paid over to the service provider in Parliament. This is scandalous and represents the world’s most expensive toll fee collection system.
How do you think Gauteng’s ailing health system can be rescued?
John Moodey: I firstly believe that the Department is poorly led. The executive management at most of the hospitals are not suited for the positions they hold and there is no accountability. Each hospital should be run as an independent business, with its own maintenance units and should be responsible for its own HR and IR functions, thus being able to appoint or dismiss its own staff. Performance contracts should also be entered into with all staff members. There should be on-going monitoring of the adherence to such contracts. Discipline, accountability and professional work ethic must be entrenched.
Ian Ollis: The hospitals in Gauteng require management, which is currently absent. If the managers at each institution do not understand staffing, financial and medical issues, these institutions will continue to collapse. The poor cadre deployment policy of the ruling party together with inadequate planning has led to the crisis in health care. Western Cape hospitals were remedied by putting expert managers and financial planners in place and these hospitals are clean, well-stocked, and deliver a truly amazing service. The DA is quite capable of delivering that same quality service in the hospitals in Gauteng
Who do you hope will endorse your candidature?
John Moodey: Numerous MPs, MPLs and Senior Councillors have already publicly endorsed me. Most of the executive members of the four regions, as well as leadership of DA caucuses have already endorsed my candidature. I also have the endorsement of the outgoing provincial leader, Janet Semple.
Ian Ollis: I have such a large number of people endorsing me. At present there are about 50 DA leaders in Gauteng endorsing me as their candidate.