'I can fix the problems': Mbali Ntuli won't give in to calls to ditch DA leadership bid

06 October 2020 - 18:00
The DA's leader hopeful Mbali Ntuli has vowed to change the mindset within the party that sees dissenting voices as 'ill-discipline'.
The DA's leader hopeful Mbali Ntuli has vowed to change the mindset within the party that sees dissenting voices as 'ill-discipline'.
Image: Thuli Dlamini

Withfewer than 25 days left before the DA elective conference, Mbali Ntuli is determined to finish strong in her bid to become the party's leader.

On Monday, Ntuli commented on a suggestion that she should quit the race and take a different route, for example by “exposing” the DA for running an alleged “sham election”.

“Mbali, I think you should withdraw from this race and expose it for what it is: a sham election. Then also discuss the debate dodging, the multiple charges against black leaders, and the denial of media access in the last laps of the race,” said analyst Leon James.

The party's candidates are not allowed to publicly discuss the leadership contest, but Ntuli asserted that she intended to finish - and hopefully win. 

“Or I can try [to] win and fix the problems,” said Ntuli. “I've got 26 days left. Help me, donate, write op-eds. Ask your councillor or MP to vote for me.”

When asked what difference a “person in the street” could make for her to win, Ntuli said they can make the case for why they think party members should vote for her at the congress.

She said the reason she engaged with people on social media who were not supporters of the DA was “to disabuse them of their own notions of the party”.

“I think there's room to engage people. To disabuse them of their own notions of the party and put out counter-arguments. Others are also watching. We're in the game of convincing people. I've signed up numerous people from social media engagements,” said Ntuli.

“I also don't believe that everybody who is not a supporter doesn't want the party to do better. An alternative is something any thinking person wants.

“I try not to engage trolls, but when people take the time to ask me or challenge my views, I think it's important to respond.”

Ntuli is running against DA interim leader John Steenhuisen for the position of party leader.

She is doing her virtual town hall tour, under the hashtag #KindStrongFair, ahead of the DA's virtual federal congress on October 31 and November 1.

According to Ntuli, if elected, she will change the party's disciplinary body and the federal legal commission, among other things.

In an interview with Newzroom Afrika last month, Ntuli vowed to change the mindset within the party that sees dissenting voices as “ill-discipline”. Instead she wants to bring in a “culture where people can debate and have free rein in the party”.

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