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First on EWN: John Moodey not running for DA leader post

The Gauteng DA leader has confirmed exclusively to EWN he will not be entering the party’s leadership race.

The DA's Gauteng leader, John Moodey. Picture: John Moodey Facebook

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader John Moodey has confirmed exclusively to Eyewitness News that he will not be running for position of DA leader.

Party leader Helen Zille announced earlier this month that she would be stepping down, after eight years at the helm of the country's main opposition party.

There was a lot of speculation around whether Moodey would run up against DA Parliamentary Leader Mmusi Maimane, who confirmed early this week that he would be contesting for the top position.

Moodey says he has finally made the decision after a grueling two weeks.

"I have decided that I will not be contesting this leadership, at this stage. And I have decided that I would rather focus my attention to Gauteng."

LISTEN: 'I'm willing to stand up and contest for SA'

MMUSI MAIMANE

Maimane's campaign to become the next DA got underway on Monday after he

formerly announced his decision to stand on Saturday.

With three short weeks to go before the DA's leadership elections, Maimane has a head-start on any contenders.

The DA Parliamentary leader is seen as a favourite to succeed Zille, and already has the backing of Eastern Cape leader Athol Trollip, who is running for the post of party chairman.

Maimane however will need to win a contest to avoid accusations that he's simply been handed the leadership on a plate.

With Moody pulling out of the race, a challenge is expected from current chairperson Wilmot James.

HELEN ZILLE

The outgoing DA leader has said she will continue to play a pivotal role in the party without getting too involved.

Under her leadership, the DA won 22 percent of the national vote in last year's General Election.

Zille said it was definitely not an easy decision, but that the best time to leave is now.

She said her passion for the party will not fade and she will continue to contribute as Western Cape Premier.

LISTEN: Zille opens up about her decision to step down

DA members go to the polls on 9 May and a day later a new leader will be announced.