UPDATE | 'I cannot even sleep in a DA T-shirt' – John Moodey on resigning from DA

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DA leadership candidate John Moodey.
DA leadership candidate John Moodey.
Elizabeth Sejake, Gallo Images, Rapport
  • DA Gauteng leader John Moodey is the latest high profile leader to call it quits on the party.
  • Moodey mentioned tensions regarding exclusivity, trumped up charges, character assassinations and purging as some of the internal challenges plaguing the party. 
  • The DA in turn has described his resignation as unfortunate and unnecessary. 

Long-time DA Gauteng leader John Moodey has resigned from the party.

An emotional Moodey made the announcement at a media briefing held at his home on Wednesday, telling journalists he felt conflicted about his decision, but knew he could no longer bear being in the party.

"I am deeply saddened, uncomfortable and am no longer home in the DA. To stay on for the sake of earning a salary isn’t an option for me," he said.

He went on to describe conficts within the DA, saying the trouble started in 2017 when former leader Mmusi Maimane was undermined as part of a "destabilisation programme" and purging set in.

The former Gauteng leader, who had also announced his intentions to run for federal leader earlier this year, complained of measures being taken to punish numerous leaders, including disciplinary charges against provincial leaders. 

"I have been a victim of such underhanded disparaging tactics at every provincial congress I contested (barring the first one)," he said.

"Trumped up charges, character assassination and rumour-mongering to destroy my character have been constant practice I have learnt to weather and live with," said Moodey.

Charges

He confirmed that he had a series of charges laid against him, but said he had not seen the charge sheet, although he had been given a hearing date.

He shared instances of differences over ideas - such as inclusivity, and the party’s current focus on regaining lost ground among white voters while ignoring Indian, black and coloured communities.

He also documented events leading up to Maimane’s 2019 resignation as both leader and subsequently party member - these included sentiments for the then leader to "fall on his sword", Moodey said when this was defeated a smear campaign followed.

"A public attack on his character was carried out in the media. Weekend after weekend, vague allegations of impropriety were leaked to a newspaper with the objective of casting doubt upon the character and honesty of the first black federal leader of the DA," said Moodey.

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Most of his wrath was directed at former leader, turned federal council chairperson Helen Zille, saying the party’s silence on her racist tweets was a sign that it was in agreement with her, even pointing out its inability to deal with redress.

Referring to the council chair’s tweets about black people being fascinated with her grandchild’s hair during the height of the global movement called Black Lives Matter, he said Zille had missed the point, which was how black people were treated in general.

"Helen is either tone deaf or ignorant or both. It is a tragedy that, in such an important time in our history, the present leadership blindly follows her tune," he said.

Moodey was at pains to tell journalists he could "no longer even sleep in a DA T-shirt", speaking of Zille’s tweets that black people lived in a state of perpetual victimhood.

"Highly insensitive, hurtful and deliberately provocative,"” is how Moodey described it.

The DA, in a short statement, referred to the resignation as both "unfortunate" and "unnecessary".

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The joint reaction from national spokesperson Refiloe Ntsekhe and MPL and Gauteng provincial chairperson Mike Moriarty said they believed Moodey had made a mistake, as the DA remained the only party that could unseat the ANC.

"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,” they said.

They also claimed he had played the race card to justify his decision in order to avoid due process.

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