KwaZulu-Natal DA caucus spokesperson and MPL Mbali Ntuli said the federal council officially handed her the charges regarding her ‘liking’ a Facebook post on Friday, May 12. The post was a collage of tweets from Helen Zille in 2016, with the compiler accusing Zille of racist tendencies.
This is in stark contrast to what James Selfe, the chairperson of DA federal council, said to The Citizen yesterday. In that interview, Selfe denied the case against Ntuli had been expedited, in comparison to Helen Zille’s tweets in which she heaped praises on colonialism.
Selfe told The Citizen the reason the charges against Ntuli had been finalised much earlier than those into Zille was because the investigation had been completed. He said this was not the case with Zille.
It is not clear if the party had officially informed Mbali that an investigation was being conducted against her prior to the charges been formalised. In the case of Zille, it became public knowledge that her tweets had caused ructions within the party and that an investigation was under way.
Selfe unequivocally likened the case against Dianne Kohler Barnard to that of Ntuli. He seemed to suggest that the damage caused to the party by both incidents had the same impact.
In a conversation with Justice Malala of eNCA’s Justice Factor last night, party leader Mmusi Maimane confirmed that if called upon to be a witness for Ntuli during the disciplinary hearing he would do so.
Mabine Seabi, the party leader’s spokesperson, told The Citizen that Maimane stood by the announcement that he would testify for Ntuli. He said Maimane “does not believe he is contradicting federal council decision” to charge Ntuli.
He said the question – whether agreeing to testify for Ntuli was showing cracks within the DA – should be directed towards the federal council.
Mbali denied that she deliberately violated the party’s social media policy. “All I was doing was take a principled stance that there must be consistency within the party.” She denied allegations that she agreed with a Facebook post that Zille was a racist based on that collection of tweets on Facebook.
The complaint against Mbali ‘liking’ the Facebook post was brought by Bonginkosi Madikizela, the MEC for human settlements and acting chairperson of the DA in the Western Cape. Madikizela is a known Zille backer.