The DA is going all out to win Gauteng

Now his elections as provincial leader has been secured, John Moodey is setting his sights on winning Gauteng for his party. (Elizabeth Sejake/Gallo Images/Rapport)

Now his elections as provincial leader has been secured, John Moodey is setting his sights on winning Gauteng for his party. (Elizabeth Sejake/Gallo Images/Rapport)

The newly re-elected leader of the Democratic Alliance in Gauteng, John Moodey, says he will now focus on campaigning for the DA to win Gauteng in the 2019 general elections.

He told the Mail & Guardian this week that the party has begun finalising the establishment of a training academy in Gauteng to prepare its public representatives for 2019.

Gauteng is the epicentre of the DA’s election ambitions and, according to Moodey, securing a win in the province was likely to change the national political landscape and possibly bring the ANC’s support to below 50%.

It was therefore vital for the DA in Gauteng to secure a majority win to achieve the party’s national ambitions.

The party is intensifying the implementation of its Gauteng election strategy, which will be led by Moodey and newly elected provincial chairperson Mike Moriarty.

Moodey says the party would have to attract 1.5-million new votes in the province to secure a majority win at the 2019 polls.

The party received 2.6-million votes in the 2016 local government polls, and the ANC got 3.3-million.

A training academy would equip party representatives with the necessary skills to execute the election campaign and effectively communicate DA policies, he said.

“That academy will be broad-based to assist our public representatives … dealing from policy to law drafting.

“And also another training programme will take place for our branch chairs and also our volunteer activists, which will deal with issues such as leadership styles, what our core message is and our philosophies as an organisation,” Moodey said.

The party also plans to increase its volunteer base to 30 000 to conduct public engagements and door-to-door visits that would hopefully yield more than a million new votes.

“I believe it was the correct choice. This strategy that has been put into place towards 2019 is not something that was just developed at the beginning of this year; it goes all the way back to 2012,” he said.

Last Saturday Moodey secured a landslide victory at the provincial conference held in Midrand against his opponent Ghaleb Cachalia — receiving 68% of the votes.

The run-up to the congress had been characterised by dirty tricks, including the leaking of an internal DA report — allegedly by Cachalia’s campaign managers — which showed membership irregularities in Gauteng.

During his congress address, Cachalia used the findings of the report to lambast Moodey for allowing administrative inefficiencies in the province.

There had been fears in the party that the contest would deepen divisions between the so-called old guard that supported Cachalia and a progressive grouping that advocated for radical change, which backed Moodey.

But Moodey believes his majority win proves that members agree on the direction of his leadership.

His win is also seen as a victory for party leader Mmusi Maimane, who has implemented changes that have led the DA to adopt a pro-poor policy direction.

Although it is alleged that the conservative grouping is not fully on board with the changes, Maimane has received the backing of the progressive grouping, and senior members such as KwaZulu-Natal MPL Mbali Ntuli and Gauteng MPL Makashule Gana are believed to be behind him.

It appears that some of the senior members will push for Maimane to be re-elected at the party’s national congress in April. Moodey said he was among those who supported Maimane to lead the DA to the 2019 polls.

“Mmusi is my leader, he has been elected as such and I put my full weight behind him. We have a great relationship and I believe he is the man to take us to the Union Buildings. He has my full support, 120%,” he said.