The DA’s chief whip in Gauteng, Mike Moriarty, has announced he will contest Helen Zille for the position of federal council chairperson at the party’s virtual congress in October.
Moriarty, a long-time DA leader in the province, said he believed he was the right person for the job and had been considering it for a while.
“That position should bring stability to the party and not controversy.”
Moriarty’s confirmation he is taking on Zille comes after she was referred to the party’s federal legal commission for controversial tweets she posted about apartheid.
She tweeted there were more racist laws now than there were under apartheid – a claim many have pointed out to be untrue.
Zille was elected DA federal council chairperson in October last year, a move that caused in turmoil in the party. It saw former leader Mmusi Maimane leaving the party as well as the resignation of former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba.
Moriarty said he believed he was better suited for the position.
He added: “I think that kind of role is one where you want somebody who is going to be coordinating the strategic needs of the organisation and to make sure we are campaign ready.”
He added he believed the party could be the core of a “realigned majority” to unseat the ANC.
The DA is expected to elect a new leader at its virtual congress at the end of October. However, the decision to hold it virtually has been contested by many, including Mbali Ntuli who is contesting John Steenhuisen for the position of party leader.
Moriarty said Zille was wrong in her tweets about colonialism and he believed her views on apartheid were wrong as well.
“There are many things I agree with Helen on, but certainly not her views on apartheid,” he added.
It is unclear whether Zille will face action following her tweets, but it will now be discussed in party structures.
Moriarty said his decision to contest the position was long in the works, adding he would soon convince members of his vision for the party.