“Here to fight and here to stay”, is the spirit in which long-serving and Gauteng DA leader John Moodey formally announced his candidacy to become federal leader of the party on Monday.
The DA is set to hold its elective conference on May 31.
The official launch of his candidacy, which took place at the University of Johannesburg, comes a day after the DA announced that nominations were open for federal leader, federal chairperson, three deputy federal chairs as well as the federal council chairperson, its two deputies and federal chairperson of finance.
Moodey becomes the third leader to throw his hat in the ring. He is up against current interim leader John Steenhuisen and former DA Youth leader Mbali Ntuli who is currently a member of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature.
The party brought forward its elective conference following a recommendation from a high-level panel report looking into its dismal performance in the elections.
Moodey, who believes he is the best candidate for the role, said he represented a “workable solution” and a “workable alternative” that would help the DA on its growth path.
While he painted scenarios of how the country could benefit with him as leader of the opposition and when big business and labour came together, he also tackled the DA’s inconsistent approach to BBBEE and affirmative action, saying the country needed to accept its past but could not stay “stuck” there.
“Those policies were great at the time, I mean 26 years along, and nothing has really changed. People have become worse off but what it did [is], it created an elite black [group] of [the] super-rich. It was used to the advantage of the few,” said Moodey.
Moodey has had a hand in training and benefiting from the support of numerous DA leaders, including Tshwane’s Abel Tau, the chairperson of the members of provincial legislatures network, Makashule Gana, and MP Jacques Julius.
He told those at the event the “DA was richer” because of his contributions and tutelage, listing those whom he had assisted. These included Gana and Gauteng caucus leader Solly Msimanga, saying this placed him in good stead to lead the party.
“I am not about creating a position for myself. My history speaks for itself. I don’t need to tell you what I’ve done,” he said to rapturous applause.
“The DA is richer today because of my input.”
Win or lose, Moodey said he would remain committed to the party.
“Ons gaan nie, ons phola hier,” he said, quoting a popular phrase using Afrikaans and tsotsi taal to express defiance during the era of forced removals of black and coloured people by the apartheid regime during the struggle for freedom.