Ntuli certain she’ll be elected the DA’s new leader

This is despite many analysts familiar with the party saying her chances of winning are slim.

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

DURBAN/JOHANNESBURG - Former Democratic Alliance (DA) youth leader Mbali Ntuli on Thursday expressed confidence in her chances of becoming the next leader of South Africa’s official opposition.

This is despite many analysts familiar with the party saying her chances of winning are slim.

Ntuli is competing against the DA’s interim leader John Steenhuisen for the party’s job.

She said she had reached most of the voting delegates during her nine-month campaign and the results of the congress would show that.

Ntuli told Eyewitness News that she was looking forward to the DA’s elective congress, which started on Saturday.

“I am excited. Obviously, we feel that our numbers are strong but it’s still really left up to the day and people tend to change their minds on the day all the time. But certainly going into it at the moment, we are very excited about how we are looking.”

At the same time, she has appealed to South Africans to call for more accountability in politicians.

“We in the political realm need the pressure from you to keep us sharp and to keep our democracy alive. So please take the time to interrogate your politicians and leaders to make sure by the time we get to next year’s election, we really have put everyone through a most stringent obstacle of trying to prove why they should lead.”

The DA's upcoming elective congress will be the biggest in the party’s history - with more than 2,000 delegates.

Meanwhile, Ntuli also said the party should emerge out of its elective congress with strong resolutions against crimes targeted at members of the LGBTI community.

She said regardless of who wins the contest, the party should appeal to all South Africans regardless of their race – gender and sexual orientation.

Ntuli said the DA needed to be kind, strong and fair to all citizens.

“We should seek to ask the president to have a permanent directorate that is really focusing on the hate crimes that are being done to the queer community. I think that’s important because we really don’t do much to talk about young gay and lesbian and transgender people that are being killed daily and I see it in my work on the ground so I am very passionate about us passing that.”

She added that the party also needed to relook its leadership structure.

“One of the amendments that I put in is that that we should have a deputy leader. I think it’s important with an organisation our size to not put pressure on one person’s shoulders and to really increase the caliber of people that we have at that level.”

Ntuli expressed optimism ahead of the congress, saying she has worked hard to reach many of the party’s delegates and said the results of the congress would show that.


Meanwhile, DA youth leader Luyolo Mphithi has endorsed Ntuli for the position of federal leader, saying
Ntuli was the only leader in the party who had the potential to grow DA support at the upcoming 2021 local government polls.

It’s understood the odds were stacked in Steenhuisen’s favour but Mphiti says Ntuli is the only one who could offer a different brand of politics for both the party and the country.

“I find and I believe Mbali is the right person to take us forward as the DA – to reach new voters who have never voted for us before but to most importantly, to literally disrupt the politics they have in this country right now.”

Mpithi strongly disagreed with views expressed by former DA Chief Whip Douglas Gibson, who said he believed Ntuli was too junior to lead the party.

He said it was a fallacy to believe young people in the party were not good enough to lead – this is in response to an interview Gibson had with Eyewitness News this week – in which he called for a “grown up” to lead the party.

Gibson mentioned former leaders Maimane and Lindiwe Mazibuko as attempts by the party to push young leaders to the top, which he said flopped in the past.

Mphiti said it wasn’t true as many of the young people in the DA put in the work to help build the party

“We’ve served and done our time on the ground in and grown structures where we’ve been – whether it was in universities, whether it was establishing branches in Soweto where there were none. But we’ve served this organisation.”

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