The Democratic Alliance said on Thursday that its former Gauteng leader, John Moodey, was sidelined for allegedly pushing a conspiracy of a “sex-for-jobs scandal” against fellow party member Mike Waters.
On Wednesday, the erstwhile contender for the party’s leadership not only dropped out of the race, but also resigned from the party he had been a member of since 1998, when it was still known as the Democratic Party.
At a no-holds-barred media briefing called 24 hours after Moodey ditched the party, DA interim leader John Steenhuisen claimed Moodey had tried to “deflect attention from himself by defaming colleagues, playing the race card and trying to inflict as much damage on the party [as possible].”
“Mister Moodey is running away from serious charges to frame a political opponent in a ‘sex-for-jobs’ scandal,” claimed Steenhuisen.
The DA also alleges Moodey tried to bribe two junior Ekurhuleni councillors to lie and give false evidence.
Ekurhuleni falls under Waters’s parliamentary constituency. He is also the regional chairperson of the party’s candidate-selection panel.
Steenhuisen said the party was loath to make public the allegations against Moodey, adding he also, as interim leader, found out about the allegations only the night before Moodey was supposed to be charged.
Waters confirmed to the Mail & Guardian that he was the target of the alleged conspiracy.
“I can confirm it. I was informed about the allegations on July 8. It was alleged that I forced two councillors to sleep with me to get them higher up on the PR [proportional representation] list ahead of the 2021 local government elections. I was stunned,” Waters said.
“He attempted to destroy my political career and personal reputation, not for the first time,” Waters added.
The DA said it had audio recordings to back up its charges against Moodey.
Waters said that although Moodey has escaped censure within the party, he is planning a civil case of defamation against his former colleague.
“I do not intend to allow this besmirchment of my name to hang around in people’s minds. I am a founder member of both the Democratic Party in 1989 and the Democratic Alliance in 2000. My good name — and that of the party — is of utmost importance,” he said.
Several calls to Moodey to seek his response to the allegations went unanswered.
But speaking to the M&G after his resignation, Moodey said staying in the DA had become untenable, alleging some in the organisation were trying to tarnish his name.
“My experience is that whenever I contested a position, there was an attack on my character. There was undermining [of] my campaign, and frivolous charges brought against me. I weathered these storms in the past when I ran for provincial leadership. This time around, again, those tactics were used,” the former provincial leader said.
Moodey said, as a once-proud member of the DA, he would wear party-branded clothing every day. He said he could no longer do that.
“I once believed in the direction that the party was going in and the leadership; this time around, I have no respect for the leadership and the party. I can’t associate myself with a party I don’t feel at home in any more. I am unable to wear its brand,” he said.
Moodey has been credited with not only growing the party’s membership in Gauteng but also helping to secure a plurality of votes in the 2016 local government elections in the Johannesburg and Tshwane metros.
The DA is also in government in the Midvaal municipality and has consistently increased its slice of the electoral pie in the country’s economic heartland. The party went from 17.9% of the vote in the 1999 national elections to 30.7% in 2014, before slumping to 27.4% in 2019.