DA Gaut­eng leader licks wounds af­ter bruis­ing bat­tle

African Times - - Politics - KARABO NGOEPE

RE-ELECTED Demo­cratic Al­liance leader in Gaut­eng John Moodey is lick­ing his wounds and mov­ing on from the bruis­ing con­test for the po­si­tion and plots to to wres­tle power from the ANC.

Moodey man­aged to hold on to his po­si­tion dur­ing the party’s pro­vin­cial congress held over the week­end in Midrand, pip­ping chal­lenger Ghaleb Cachalia to the post.

In an in­ter­view with African Times, Moodey ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment in the cam­paign pro­cesses lead­ing to the congress and the un­der­hand tac­tics used to dis­credit him. He said de­spite this not be­ing his first con­tes­ta­tion, he was taken aback by the smear cam­paigns he had to en­dure.

“This is my fourth time con­test­ing and elec­tion­eer­ing is ex­tremely ro­bust. A per­son would ex­pect some­times that there would be a bit of over­step­ping of bound­aries but I will ad­mit that I’m fairly dis­ap­pointed in the way the cam­paign ac­tu­ally turned out. I have bore the brunt of ac­cu­sa­tions and at­tempts to dis­credit me and my lead­er­ship. But I know who I am and what I stand for and why I’m in­volved in the Demo­cratic Al­liance. I stuck to my prin­ci­ples and its un­for­tu­nate that some of the things stated were with­out any ba­sis or foun­da­tion,” he said.

Moodey added that de­spite the hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment that was cre­ated, he held no grudges. He said his im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion was turn­ing to mend­ing and heal­ing the scars and mov­ing on.

“I’m look­ing at per­sonal scars be­cause of those at­tacks on my in­tegrity but I’m a ma­tured politi­cian and un­der­stand that such things hap­pen. I won’t be hold­ing any grudges against any­body. I just take it as a ma­tured per­son be­cause some of the things said and ut­tered were done at the heat of a cam­paign. I have to live with it, it hap­pens in pol­i­tics,” Moodey said.

He dis­pelled the no­tion that the party was di­vided in the prov­ince and that grounds lead­ing to the con­fer­ence high­lighted the di­vi­sions that ex­ist. He how­ever ad­mit­ted that there was a need to unite the move­ment in the prov­ince. Moodey said he took the ro­bust­ness of the cam­paign trail on the chin and there was no an­i­mos­ity be­tween him­self and Cachalia.

“I don’t be­lieve we have a di­vided prov­ince to be hon­est. Peo­ple voted ac­cord­ing to their pref­er­ences. There was ab­so­lutely no an­i­mos­ity of the rank and file. By far and large I must in­di­cate that there wasn’t real an­i­mos­ity be­tween us as con­tes­tants. What I’m talk­ing about here (unity) is more the cam­paign teams be­cause it did be­come per­sonal. Peo­ple’s emo­tions went high and there are some scars that need to heal for all those who were in­volved in both camps. More than any­thing else, the build­ing of unity and ca­ma­raderie will hap­pen. The rank and file, the del­e­gates, I be­lieve they came to vote for their pre­ferred can­di­dates and its done. There was no fight­ing that hap­pened on the floor, throw­ing of chairs or ver­bal abuse. That shows the con­tes­ta­tion was ma­ture and ro­bust,” said Moodey.

The two were at se­ri­ous log­ger­heads lead­ing to the con­fer­ence. A party’s in­ter­nal re­port on mem­ber­ship ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties was leaked and Cachalia’s camp was said to have been be­hind it but He de­nied it. He coun­tered by telling Moodey to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for the cri­sis.

The ten­sion be­tween the two was also ev­i­dent dur­ing the con­fer­ence with del­e­gates boo­ing Cachalia off the stage dur­ing his ad­dress and chant­ing slo­gans of sup­port for Moodey.

In down play­ing the sit­u­a­tion, Moodey said he saw peo­ple from the same branches wear­ing T-shirts for dif­fer­ent can­di­dates eat­ing at the same ta­ble and that in­di­cated tol­er­ance and that there was no bad blood amongst del­e­gates.

“Its not as if we are en­e­mies. There was con­tes­ta­tion, there was shar­ing of views on can­di­dates and that is what con­tes­ta­tion is about. Ul­ti­mately, we are one party and I don’t be­lieve that the so called heal­ing of a di­vided prov­ince is any­thing to be wor­ried and con­cerned about,” he said.

Moodey also ad­mit­ted that the con­test has left the party bruised but there was no time to dwell on the past. He said the fo­cus was now shift­ing to the 2019 elec­tions where he hopes to lead a charge to de­throne the African Na­tional Congress in the prov­ince. He called on all mem­bers to rally be­hind the vi­sion and put aside per­sonal squab­bles.

“The hurt that I felt also took a brand dam­age to our party and it was un­called for. That how­ever is al­ready in the process of heal­ing lead­ing to 2019. We will need ev­ery hand on deck and need peo­ple to be com­mit­ted to that course. We have one win­dow of op­por­tu­nity and we can’t make a slip of this one be­cause we have the op­por­tu­nity to take Gaut­eng from the ANC and change the po­lit­i­cal land­scape of South Africa for the bet­ter mov­ing to­ward. That is what I’m fo­cused on and i be­lieve ev­ery­body in the party is too and re­alise the im­por­tance of this elec­tion in 2019. Cam­paign is part of re­newinh the man­date and I have one. I’m sure we will achieve our ob­jec­tives. We are through with the congress and what needs to hap­pen is rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. I have pledged to work with ev­ery­one be­cause we can’t achieve our ob­jec­tive of tak­ing Gaut­eng in 2019 if we are di­vided as a party but I’m very con­fi­dent we have al­ready past the con­tes­ta­tion phase and its about unity and strate­gic ob­jec­tives to tar­get 1.5 mil­lion vot­ers and take it from the ANC,” he said.

Moodey ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion with the party’s in­ter­nal mech­a­nisms to en­sure a suc­cess­ful con­fer­ence. He said he or­gan­is­ing and of­fi­ci­at­ing were of the Hughes stan­dards and en­sured they re­mained within the frame work of the party’s con­sti­tu­tion and rules as well as reg­u­la­tions that gov­ern in­ter­nal elec­tions. An ex­cited Moodey also spoke highly of the sup­port he en­joys in the prov­ince.

“Those pro­cesses in sat­is­fied with. I did ex­pect to win, I have sup­port across the prov­ince in ev­ery branch. I haven’t been around for a short while, I have been in the prov­ince and part if the party for 19 years. I have built net­works as a politi­cian should and I’m sat­is­fied with the out­comes,” he said.

Party leader Mmusi Maimane in his ad­dress called on mem­bers to sup­port the win­ners the con­fer­ence. He warned against fac­tion­al­ism, in­di­cat­ing that such be­hav­ior would not be tol­er­ated in the party.

“Let me say this to you, there are no camps in the DA. There are no mem­bers of Ghaleb or mem­bers of John, there are only mem­bers of the DA.

“There will only be one leader for Gaut­eng and you may not have voted for that leader but at the end of the day as a true Demo­crat, you must ac­cept the re­sults and get be­hind that leader and get on the streets and for a South Africa for all,” he said.

THRILLED: JOHN MOODEY

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