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John Moodey singles out Helen Zille as he outlines reasons for quitting the DA

02 September 2020 - 13:15 By aphiwe deklerk
John Moodey says the DA is 'captured' and he cannot defend it any longer. He's even uncomfortable wearing a DA-branded T-shirt in bed, he says.
John Moodey says the DA is 'captured' and he cannot defend it any longer. He's even uncomfortable wearing a DA-branded T-shirt in bed, he says.
Image: Gallo Images / Rapport / Elizabeth Sejake

The DA lost another prominent member as its Gauteng leader John Moodey quit the party in a surprise move on Wednesday.

Moodey said part of the reason he quit was that DA leaders were planning to charge him with conspiracy to implicate one of its MPs in a “jobs for sex scandal”.

Moodey, who was running for the position of DA national leader along with John Steenhuisen and Mbali Ntuli at a virtual congress due in October, said the party had changed from when he first joined it.

Like other former leaders who have quit the DA, such as Herman Mashaba and Mmusi Maimane, Moodey used his press briefing to target DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille in his criticism of the DA leadership.

Moodey has been a member of the DA since its formation in 2000, having first joined its forerunner, the Democratic Party, in 1998. Moodey said he no longer felt at home in the DA and was even struggling to sleep in a party T-shirt.

He said the DA was “captured” and he could no longer defend it in public.

Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi’s former PA, Gina Pieters, took the stand at the state capture inquiry on September 2 2020. She laid out how Bosasa executives made sure that flowers, hampers and other “surprises” would be sent to then minister of environmental affairs Nomvula Mokonyane and her PA, Sandy Thomas.

An emotional Moodey, who was also facing charges in the party, said the final straw came when it came to his attention that the DA was formulating new charges against him.

“There are further charges being brought against me for allegedly being involved in a conspiracy to frame a senior DA parliamentarian on charges of soliciting sex for jobs,” said Moodey.

He said while he's previously fended-off attempts to force him out of the DA through similar tactics, he was no longer interested in staying, as the party's political direction had changed for the worse.

“I stayed on [before] because I believed in the party and the direction it was taking,” said Moodey.

He said in terms of the DA's new direction, the party was comfortable with remaining as an opposition party in parliament and other provincial legislatures, while only interested in governing the Western Cape.

Moodey further slammed the DA for its apparent silence on Zille's tweets on race, colonialism and apartheid.

“She has the belief that there are more racist laws passed since 1994 than during apartheid. It exposes her thinking and underlying sentiments. This statement has and is causing irreparable harm to the DA brand and racial harmony in SA, yet she remains in office,” said Moodey.

Moodey termed Zille's statement as twisting of facts and further criticised her understanding and stance on the #Blacklivesmatter movement.

“She is holding a prominent political position in the DA, she is a brand ambassador for the party ... It is a tragedy that in such an important time in our history, the present leadership just continues to follow her blindly,” said Moodey. “That the party remains quiet when she makes such pronouncements shows that it supports her opinion. I have regrettably, and after much soul searching, reached a point where I am unable to defend these insensitive utterances and statements.”

Moodey said Zille's tweets about black people living in a perpetual state of victimhood were hurtful and insensitive.

He said to stay on in the DA for the sake of a salary was not an option for him. 

A joint statement by party spokesperson Refiloe Nt’sekhe and Gauteng chairperson Mike Moriarty denied that there was unfairness in the charges faced by Moodey.

“Moodey’s departure is both unfortunate and unnecessary. The DA believes that he is making a mistake because the DA is the only party that can unseat the ANC and deliver a fair, effective and accountable government,” read the statement.

“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. It is very unfortunate that he plays the race card to justify his decision to avoid due process.”