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Johannesburg - The resignation of Gwen Ngwenya as the DA's head of policy sparked debate among party members about the damage such policy differences could mean for the party ahead of an election year. 

Leaked screenshots of messaged exchanged between senior DA members have laid bare concerns that Ngwenya's highly-publicised departure could cause unwanted consequences for the party. 

Ngwenya's resignation letter went public on Thursday and detailed her unhappiness with the DA's policy direction. She said, "ideas are not a battleground the DA likes to tread on". 

She also complained about a lack of direction for her role as the head of policy and said her office was understaffed and lacked resources and support.  

Independent Media is in possession of the screenshots which were sent by a reliable source. DA members expressed concern about "the intention to inflict maximum damage, make the party leadership look directionless and weak," one message read. 

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"At this trend, our internal strife could be seen an election regression," a message written by DA Gauteng member Janho Engrelbecht read. 

When approached for comment, DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi said: "I do not comment on unverified private conversations of individuals". 

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Malatsi said the party was focused on the work of wrapping up its manifesto ahead of its launch next month.

Speculation has been rife that Ngwenya's departure was also likely motivated by the party's refusal to entertain her stance on the exclusion of racial quotas in empowerment policy.   

When asked whether the party would take lessons from the complaints laid by Ngwenya, Malatsi said policy formulation was not an individual process. 

"Policy formulation in the DA is not an individual process. It's a process where different leaders of the party, different structures and party structures constantly work towards," he said. 

Ngwenya was appointed as the head of policy in February 2018 and she will remain a member of the DA and an MP. 

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