DA leadership race might get Moodey

Candidates have until next week to lodge their nominations ahead of the party's elective congress.

FILE: Democratic Alliance’s John Moodey. Picture: John Moodey FB.

JOHANNESBURG - Democratic Alliance (DA) Gauteng leader John Moodey on Tuesday said he was keeping his options open about whether he should contest the position of party leader.

Helen Zille, who after leading the party for eight years, announced on Sunday that she won't be available for re-election.

LISTEN: _ Helen Zille discusses her announcement to step down as leader of the Democratic Alliance._

While several top party officials have said they won't run, the party's parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane has not yet indicated if he will take part in the race.

Candidates have until the end of next week to lodge their nominations ahead of the party's elective congress on 9 May.

Moodey seems to be the last serious contender who could give Maimane a run for his money in this race, but he won't say if he will actually run for the position.

He has been the Gauteng leader of the DA for several years but doesn't appear to have the public profile to match Maimane.

Moodey said, "I am seriously considering it together with my family. We are weighing up options, but I think the ultimate thing from my side is that I am here and available to serve the party."

Moodey won't be drawn on whether he could beat Maimane.

"It is for the party to decide at the congress if both of us enters the race, as to who the party would want as the leader."

If Moodey did take on Maimane and lose, it will give Maimane more legitimacy as leader of the party if he won in the end.

LISTEN _ to Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane's reaction to Helen Zille's announcement._

Maimane's predecessor Lindiwe Mazibuko, who left to study at Harvard University in the US in 2014, on Tuesday denied speculation that she would throw her hat in the ring while the party's chief whip also said he was not in the running.

I wish to clarify that I will not be making myself available for election to any leadership post at the DA's 2015 Congress.

At the same time, Eastern Cape DA leader Athol Trollip said he wants to campaign for the post of federal chair rather than run for the position as party leader.

Trollip told Eyewitness News that he would not reveal who he's backing in the run up to the party's elective conference.

"I will back up anybody who personifies non-racialism. That means the right leader for the DA would be black or white or brown or he or she."

At the same time, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille said she was focused on becoming the leader of the DA in the Western Cape, not leading the party nationally.

So far, only two relative unknowns, Jack Swart and Neil Els, have put their names forward.