DA members attend the party’s manifesto launch in Johannesburg. Picture: GENEVIEVE QUINTAL
DA members attend the party’s manifesto launch in Johannesburg. Picture: GENEVIEVE QUINTAL

The DA’s national campaign manager Jonathan Moakes has resigned after a long career in the party.

His resignation comes shortly after the party lost significant support in a bruising election on May 8. Moakes was the  national campaign manager for the May general elections. 

The party was in turmoil in the run-up to the general elections. Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille left the party  to form the Good party — which inevitably ate into the DA support base. There were also fights over policy and strategy within the party.  

Moakes said that he tendered his resignation three months ago to take effect after “the conclusion and wrap up of the party’s 2019 election campaign”. He said the resignation was a process that commenced approximately six months ago.

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Despite saying the party had a great deal to be proud about, he was worried that the “organisation is losing a core part of its soul”.

“It has been a great honour to serve the party in a number of roles since May 2005 and I will forever be immensely grateful for the opportunities I have been afforded to further the values of freedom, fairness, opportunity and diversity, which are so crucial to the sustainability of our constitutional democracy,” Moakes said in his resignation letter seen by the Business Day.

Moakes said he was currently in the process of compiling his review of the election to submit it to the team that will be conducting the broader organisational review announced by DA leader Mmusi Maimane last week.

“Like you, I am deeply disappointed that we were not able to achieve a better election outcome. As I will indicate in my review, there are a number of factors that contributed to the result and it is absolutely vital that the party undertake the necessary introspection and learn the lessons of the difficult period of the past two years,” Moakes said.

He added that the most important thing was that the party needs a “clear vision” with the requisite leadership that is committed to supporting a strategy that will realise that vision.

“Unfortunately, our party has been at a crossroads for some time now with some pretty fundamental disagreement as to who we are, who we are fighting for, and what we want to achieve. It is my hope that the party engages in the necessary processes to resolve these questions so that we can move forward decisively and with clear purpose,” Moakes said.

He said that the party delaying the resolution of key questions is “undoubtedly a key factor as to why we went backwards in election 2019”.

He said he was proud of what the DA stood for in the election and the party’s defence of a non-racial centre of SA politics. He also thanked Maimane for his “fierce commitment and leading from the front in communicating the message of ‘One SA for all’.”

He said the party was virtually unrecognisable from when he started in May 2005, and that the party has grown considerably, professionalised and established a national footprint of good governance.

He said the party has to re-orientate and align a shared vision that serves as a unifying point for all in the party, which should be around rebuilding of an ethos of care, support and building on what works well to replace the current culture of blame and internal fighting.

Another area of focus, he said, should be on firm, decisive leadership committed to supporting a shared vision.

Party spokesperson Solly Malatsi confirmed his resignation and said Moakes was a “massive asset” to the party and that the DA could only be thankful for his contribution.