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Mbali Ntuli: DA risks appeasing old guard if Steenhuisen elected leader

Ntuli said that the exit of the Democratic Alliance’s former Gauteng leader, John Moodey, had simplified the party’s leadership contest and she was optimistic ahead of next month’s elective conference.

FILE: Mbali Ntuli officially announced her decision to run for the leadership role of the Democratic Alliance. Picture: EWN

DURBAN - Former Democratic Alliance (DA) youth leader Mbali Ntuli said that the DA would get a chance to gain ground in areas it had never had voters in and achieve inclusive growth if she's elected party leader at its elective conference next month.

Ntuli is expected to come up against the DA’s interim leader John Steenhuisen.

She told Eyewitness News that the DA was running the risk of appeasing the old establishment of the party and doing things the same way if Steenhuisen was elected over her.

Ntuli hopes that her campaign to become DA leader will transform how people view politics in the country.

"I think that it's about time that we see politics being entered by people that aren't the traditional strongmen that we've seen, that aren't' the typical types of politician and I'm hoping that my victory will signify that."

She said that she wanted to resolve inconsistencies in the party’s disciplinary processes which she viewed as unfair.

"I think that what we have currently, which is very sad in our party, is the closing down of the space for dissenting voices and it is why one of the very key elements of my campaign is around fairness, particularly because I do not see the fairness and consistency that we have the disciplinary issues being meted out to everyone in the party."

Ntuli said that she remained concerned that the DA did not encourage a culture of an open and robust debate because current leaders were too sensitive to criticism.

The former DA youth leader said that the suppression of dissenting voices within the DA has continued under Helen Zille’s tenure as federal executive chairperson.

She said that her victory would assist the DA to gain new voters, some of whom would never support the party if Steenhuisen remained at the helm.

Reflecting on investigations and disciplinary processes against several DA members, Ntuli said that the party demonstrated intolerance to those who differed in opinion to party leaders.

"Certainly for me, what's troubling is that we don't see a culture of open and robust debate that can go against leadership without having some kind of fear instilled in people."

She said that she wanted to transform the party and grow it.

"My focus is going to be about growing the DA in markets that it hasn't been. I'm really going to be driving socially liberal issues. I want to talk about the decriminalising of sex work, I want to talk about how we can make the hemp industry something that is formidable."

Ntuli said that the exit of the DA’s former Gauteng leader, John Moodey, had simplified the party’s leadership contest and she was optimistic ahead of next month’s elective conference.

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