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DA's Steenhuisen hits back at Ntuli criticism of party, Maimane's 'Judas' jibe

In a wide-ranging interview with EWN, DA interim leader John Steenhuisen lambasted Mbali Ntuli for criticising the party in the media.

FILE: Interim DA leader John Steenhuisen. Picture: @alanwinde/Twitter

DURBAN – Democratic Alliance (DA) interim leader John Steenhuisen said that criticism of the party’s federal legal commission by former youth leader Mbali Ntuli was not based on facts.

In a wide-ranging interview with Eyewitness News, Steenhuisen lambasted Ntuli for criticising the party in the media.

Ntuli calls out cliques, insider culture within DA in an internal memo

Steenhuisen and Ntuli are both campaigning for the DA leadership ahead of the party’s elective conference in October.

Ntuli had previously slammed past and present DA leaders, including Mmusi Maimane, Helen Zille and Steenhuisen, saying that dissenting voices in the party under their leadership were suppressed.

She had also charged that the party’s disciplinary processes were politicised, but Steenhuisen rejected this.

“The federal legal commission is firewalled from the leadership precisely through its independence and its ability to operate without fear or favour,” Steenhuisen said.

The acting DA leader said that Ntuli was not assisting the party by talking about its issues publicly.

“I don’t think that you win any support from the DA by slagging off your own party publicly. And I think, frankly, people out there are sick and tired of seeing a party that is spending more time fighting each other, than fighting for themselves,” he said.

Steenhuisen said that those who were critical of the party’s disciplinary processes should make suggestions for improvement internally.

WATCH: Steenhuisen: I've never shut down dissenting voices

MAIMANE EXIT SPAT

Meanwhile, Steenhuisen said that it was unfortunate that Maimane referred to him as "Judas" after pointing out that the former DA leader focused too much on bashing the governing African National Congress (ANC) earlier this year.

Steenhuisen addressed the issue publicly for the first time since Maimane attacked him on Twitter in February.

At the time, Maimane threatened Steenhuisen, saying that it would not end well for him if he continued discussing him.

Steenhuisen said that he had warned Maimane about remaining highly critical of the ANC even after President Cyril Ramaphosa won the party’s leadership contest in 2017 against Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

“That advice was not heeded, and the party went on a full-frontal attack on Mr Ramaphosa, and I think it backfired spectacularly. I think it set the stage for the undermining of ultimately of Mr Maimane’s credibility and I think it turned a lot of South Africans off,” Steenhuisen said.

Steenhuisen said that Maimane’s statement was regrettable because he had worked very hard to support him when he became the party’s parliamentary leader.

“The amount of effort and work I put in into making Mr Maimane’s leadership successful are matters of public record. So, I think that name-calling is immature and unbecoming of leaders,” he said.

WATCH: John Steenhuisen: Would you vote for him?

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