The Democratic Alliance’s Gauteng leader, John Moodey, has officially joined the race to be the party’s federal leader.
Moodey is an expected, but late entry into the DA leadership race.
Interim leader John Steenhuisen launched his campaign two weeks ago, while Kwazulu-Natal MPL Mbali Ntuli stated her intention to run in early February.
Moodey said that being probably the last candidate to launch a campaign has its benefits.
“It was strategic. We had the State of the Nation address that was in the media cycle. The two other candidates (Steenhuisen and Ntuli) had already declared their dates and I didn’t want to squeeze in between. We had the federal council this weekend, so everyone was here,” he said.
Moodey hinted at his intentions to stand for the position of federal leader when he announced earlier this month that he would not be running for re-election as Gauteng leader. But party insiders say his decision not to run in the province could also be based on the fact that he would have faced a tough challenge from Midvaal mayor Bongani Baloyi and former Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga.
Talking about his entry into the national leadership race, Moodey said: “I’m putting myself forward as the ‘workable alternative’. That’s my brand. An alternative to who? Well, the two other candidates have already put their message across. I’ve now come and given my alternative not only to DA delegates but to South Africa as a whole.”
Asked whether his opponents have had a headstart in wooing the party’s voting delegates who will attend the elective conference in May, Moodey said no candidate is guaranteed a win.
“Campaigning at the moment is a scattergun approach. We don’t have the voters’ roll as yet. And at this point in time, it’s about being out in the media, and it’s about being out in social media — giving delegates a wider view about who you are and what you are about,” he said.
The veteran politician, councilman and MPL said his track record in building the party in Gauteng speaks for itself.
Moodey was DA provincial leader from 2007 to 2010 and was re-elected in 2012. During this time the party grew from 16.6% of the vote in the 2009 Gauteng provincial election to 22.23% in the 2014 poll and dropped to 20.7% in the 2019 elections.
Moodey’s biggest win came when his party formed coalitions with smaller parties and took over the mayor’s offices in the Johannesburg and Tshwane metros after the 2016 local government elections.
Since then, the fortunes of the party have changed, with the ANC retaking that mayoralty in Johannesburg, while the DA still marginally holds on to Tshwane.
“I represent the old and new South Africa. My leadership qualities and experience [were] gained over 40 years of activism. Fighting an apartheid regime, and now fighting a present regime. When we suffered the discrimination of apartheid, it has never broken me,” Moodey said.
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