DA Gauteng forum to propose shake-ups

Democratic Alliance provincial leader John Moodey is expected to retain his position at the party’s Gauteng congress this weekend without a stiff contest, despite a challenge from DA member of the provincial legislature Refiloe Ntsekhe.

Moodey has been at the helm of the DA in Gauteng since 2012. He is backed by powerful regional leaders, such as Gauteng South’s Khume Ramulifho and Solly Msimanga, who chairs the party’s Gauteng North region.

At this conference, scheduled for this Saturday in Kempton Park, the DA in Gauteng will again try to convince the mother body that it is well placed to house the official opposition’s headquarters in Johannesburg. This is an attempt by the outspoken Gauteng DA to position itself as the centre of power in the party. The DA’s head office is in the Western Cape, the only province the party governs.

The main discussions at the conference will focus on the DA’s preparations to govern Gauteng after the 2019 general elections, according to preliminary resolutions that the Mail & Guardian has seen.

The resolutions document states that the DA aims to govern both Gauteng and South Africa come 2019.

“The 2014 election results indicate that the DA is capable of winning a number of Gauteng municipalities in 2016,” the document reads.

Panic mode
The DA increased its vote in all Gauteng metropolitan municipalities, sending the ruling ANC into a panic mode. The opposition party then resolved that all DA structures in Gauteng would “implement strategies and action plans to maximise the DA vote”.

“The DA caucus leadership of every targeted local government council in Gauteng will make a pledge to improve service delivery in their municipality when the DA comes to power in 2016,” said the resolutions document.

On e-tolling on Gauteng’s freeways, the congress is expected to commend DA representatives in the government for their sustained efforts in fighting the e-tolls. 

“All DA members should work actively in making people they contact aware that the DA has indeed made an impact on the ANC, but that real service will only be delivered when voters vote the DA into power,” the document reads.

In an effort to increase its signed-up membership, the Gauteng DA will propose an amendment to the party’s constitution, which would make it possible to review the party’s membership. 

Easier to sign up
The DA’s provincial chairperson, Mike Moriarty, said the province wanted to make it easier to sign up members.

“It has become an administrative burden to sign up members,” he said.

Moriarty said discrepancies in membership signing about five years ago resulted in stricter measures being enforced for new members.

“In the years gone by that system of support from branches to be elected into position was abused by some individuals … They were able to engineer more representivity on structures by means of membership farming,” Moriarty said. 

“They would sign up on other people’s behalf.”

He said now that branch support was not a requirement for election, the province wanted to modernise the sign up new members through online applications. This proposal would then be taken for ratification to next year’sfederal congress.

This weekend’s provincial congress is expected to further mandate the party to formulate a jobs plan for the province as well as a clear land reform policy.

The DA’s difficulty in explaining land policy led to perceptions that the party was ignoring the injustices and inequalities of the past. – Additional reporting by Andisiwe Makinana

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