Former leader of the DA’s Gauteng legislature, John Moodey, has cited Helen Zille’s “insensitive” public statements as one of his reasons for quitting the party.
Moodey, who resigned from his post on Wednesday, was running against John Steenhuisen and Mbali Ntuli for the position of Party leader in a virtual conference due to be held in October. However, he decided to quit after discovering that the party was formulating charges against him, where they would accuse him of being part of a “sex for jobs” scandal. Moodey had faced similar charges before, but claims that the most recent scandal was the final straw that broke the camel’s back.
“There are further charges being brought against me for allegedly being involved in a conspiracy to frame a senior DA parliamentarian on charges of soliciting sex for jobs,” said Moodey, as reported by TimesLIVE.
Moodey, who joined the Democratic Party in 1998 and followed the party into its transformation to the Democratic Alliance in 2000 said that he only stayed on after he previously faced charges because he believed in the party’s former identity.
“I stayed on [before] because I believed in the party and the direction it was taking,” he said.
However, he is now of the belief that the party is only interested in maintaining its position as the opposition party in South Africa and is satisfied with only governing the Western Cape, according to the report. He also spoke out against DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille for her controversial stances on race, apartheid, colonialism and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
“She has the belief that there are more racist laws passed since 1994 than during apartheid. It exposes her thinking and underlying sentiments. This statement has and is causing irreparable harm to the DA brand and racial harmony in SA, yet she remains in office,” he said.
“She is holding a prominent political position in the DA, she is a brand ambassador for the party … It is a tragedy that in such an important time in our history, the present leadership just continues to follow her blindly,” said Moodey. “That the party remains quiet when she makes such pronouncements shows that it supports her opinion. I have regrettably, and after much soul searching, reached a point where I am unable to defend these insensitive utterances and statements.”
Following Moodey’s resignation, the DA released a joint statement from party spokesperson Refiloe Nt’sekhe and Gauteng chairperson Mike Moriarty saying that his departure was “unfortunate”, that due process was followed in the charges laid against him and that he was playing “the race card”.
“Moodey’s departure is both unfortunate and unnecessary. The DA believes that he is making a mistake because the DA is the only party that can unseat the ANC and deliver a fair, effective and accountable government,” read the statement.
“John has cited alleged unfairness through the charges he faces before our Federal Legal Commission. We confirm that due process was followed, as it always has been. We reject the allegation that these charges amount to a witch-hunt against him. It is very unfortunate that he plays the race card to justify his decision to avoid due process.”
Moodey is the latest high profile departure from the DA over its allegedly racist and elitist rhetoric or its failing political strategy. Former Party leader, Mmusi Maimane quit the party last year, saying that “the DA is not the best vehicle to take forward the fight for one SA for all,” and was joined by former federal chair, Athol Trollip.
Herman Mashaba left the party as well last year, saying “I am gravely concerned that the DA I signed up to, is no longer the DA that has emerged out of this weekend’s Federal Council.” He also spoke out against Zille and the right-wing factions in the party upon his departure.
“The election of Helen Zille as the chairperson of the federal council represents a victory for people in the DA who stand diametrically opposed to my beliefs and value system, and I believe those of most South Africans of all backgrounds,” Mashaba said in October 2019.
While the ANC is facing an existential crisis over corruption and factionalism, the DA is failing to take advantage of the potential opportunity to usurp the ANC as South Africa’s ruling party. The ANC won 57.50% of the votes in last year’s national elections, while the DA was the second most popular party, winning 20.77% of the vote, while the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) was the third-placed party, winning 10.79% of the vote.