Former DA Youth leader and member of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature, Mbali Ntuli, on Tuesday announced she would be resuming her campaign to lead the embattled political party.
In a statement and a video, released on Tuesday, Ntuli said she wanted to share her vision of how to create a more inclusive party, saying there were two key issues the party needed to address in order to be a viable alternative for South Africans.
She went on to explain that she wanted the DA to be an organisation where everyone felt they belonged, were included and meaningfully represented.
She further wanted the party to address issues of redress, and to be clear on where it stands with regard to issues of social and economic justice in South Africa.
“If we cannot communicate our position clearly on where we stand with respect to issues like employment, housing and redress, the vast majority of South Africans will not listen to us,” said Ntuli.
Ntuli and the two other candidates vying for the position – John Steenhuisen, the interim leader, and DA Gauteng leader John Moodey – all suspended their campaigns in March when the Covid-19 pandemic hit South Africa.
Steenhuisen has been criticised for failing to adequately address some issues, including the party’s federal council chairperson Helen Zille. In tweets, Zille praised the last apartheid president, FW de Klerk, and claimed the country’s democratic laws were worse than those under the oppressive regime.
“It is unfortunate that 26 years into our democracy, poverty in South Africa still has a colour. As the DA, we need to have these conversations because the state has failed to meaningfully address the legacy of apartheid,” said Ntuli.
She insisted the party had to be honest in admitting that black people remained adversely impacted by poverty.
Ntuli also proposes a greater presence from the party when it comes to issues of the green economy and the growing unemployment rate.
She commits to reach out to members of the DA across the country to ask for support in her bid to lead the party.
The DA is expected to hold a virtual conference to elect a new leader in October.
The party has limped from one scandal to the next over the past year. It also saw the return of Zille, its long-time leader, as Federal Council chair and the resignation of its first black leader, Mmusi Maimane.
The country’s main opposition party performed dismally at the 2019 general elections and, since then, has continued a downward trend in some by-elections.
“Make no mistake, the Democratic Alliance is at a crossroads,” said Ntuli.
“I’m ready to lead the party into a bold new era, where we work with South Africans to build a South Africa we all want to live in.”
She said the DA needed to decide whether to continue with the current trajectory, where it represents the “voices of the few”, or whether it wanted to cultivate a new way – with her at the helm.
“A new way that will grow the DA and get South Africans’ trust back. We can become a party that listens to all its constituents and, importantly, where every member has a voice,” she said.
(Compiled by Carina Koen.)