DA’s dirty fights mar 2019 ambitions

2017-11-12 06:01
Ghaleb Cachalia

Ghaleb Cachalia

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The DA’s internal polls indicate that the party could govern Gauteng in 2019, but must first overcome dirty battles being waged among factions ahead of next week’s congress, where new provincial leaders will be elected.

Current Gauteng leader John Moodey told City Press this week that internal polls placed the DA in the early 40s percentile.

During the 2014 general elections, the DA obtained 31% of the vote in Gauteng.

Should the figures hold steady until 2019, the party has to govern through a coalition, but it is pushing to go it alone.

Although the internal polls fluctuate, they have placed the DA in the late 40s percentile, with 51% being its highest percentage in recent months.

This has emboldened the party, which already governs in the Western Cape.

Leaders who will emerge from next week’s much-anticipated congress will be responsible for steering the party to victory.

However, emails seen by City Press this week have laid bare deep divisions as supporters of Moodey and his opponent, Ghaleb Cachalia, battle it out.

The recent spate of mud-slinging was instigated by a leak to the media, indicating that membership audits in the province were not in order.

Mike Waters, a DA MP and Cachalia backer, has been fingered as the source of the leak, which is alleged to have been intended to taint Moodey, who is looking to be re-elected next week.

Cachalia, who joined the party last year, was the DA’s Ekurhuleni mayoral candidate during the 2016 local polls.

It is understood that he is also eyeing the position of premier come 2019.

Among the emails is a letter written by current DA provincial chairperson and Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga, who backs Moodey.

In the letter, written to federal executive chairperson James Selfe, Msimanga calls for action to be taken against Waters.

Waters wrote an email, which was circulated to the province, lamenting the state of membership audits.

Its tone allegedly matches the content leaked to the media.

Moodey’s supporters hit back this week, saying the Cachalia camp were “playing dirty”.

“This whole thing has gotten very ugly,” said an insider.

“It is clear that a number of people have been promised certain things which rely on a Cachalia win. This is now about 2019 and the dispensing of patronage. Remember that Gauteng is the most powerful province.

"People want to be MECs and access resources. They are acting no differently to the ANC.

“Cachalia is being backed by a lot of MPs and people at the top, who want the status quo to remain.

"They know that if Moodey remains and if someone like Makashule Gana or Msimanga emerges as premier, the party will take a progressive direction.”

Another insider, who is neutral, said the battle between Cachalia and Moodey had to do with “the future and direction of the DA”.

“Cachalia is unlikely to win next week. His backing comes from the top, but he has no real support in the province,” the source said.

Next week’s congress follows an explosive Western Cape provincial conference, which saw Helen Zille loyalist Bonginkosi Madikizela triumph over Lennit Max.

Max has challenged the outcome, adding to ongoing tensions in that province.

The next few months will see more bruising battles, with KwaZulu-Natal headed for a congress early next year, which will be followed by the DA’s national congress.

It is understood that a move will be made to dislodge current federal chair Athol Trollip from his position by the so-called black caucus, who are advocating for radical “progressive change” in the party.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane is expected to be re-elected uncontested.

Read more on:    da  |  ghaleb cachalia  |  john moodey  |  2019 elections

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