New DA youth leader wants a punchier party

2013-05-05 10:00

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If Mbali Ntuli gets her way, the DA will be shaken up a bit by its youngsters.

The 25-year-old was elected leader at the DA Youth’s conference in Newtown, Johannesburg, yesterday.

She was first elected as chairperson when the structure was founded in 2010 and is a councillor in the eThekwini metro.

Ntuli is also the owner of an events company and a somewhat unlikely taxi boss.

She owns two taxis, inherited from her father, Big Ben Ntuli, who was one of the biggest taxi bosses in the area and who was killed for his business interests when his daughter was eight.

She said that was also the reason she and her sister had to go to boarding school – some of her dad’s foes would come to their local school to try to shoot at them, so studying close to home became a little risky.

Ntuli was head girl at Wykeham Collegiate in Pietermaritzburg, one of South Africa’s foremost independent girls’ schools.

She holds a bachelor of social science degree from Rhodes University, where she first became involved in politics.

She came into the DA’s leadership through its young leaders’ programme in 2008.

Ntuli is close to DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, who herself is just 33. Ntuli considers Mazibuko a mentor of sorts.

Ntuli said the DA Youth wanted to gain more autonomy from the mother party so it could pursue youth issues and make itself more attractive to youngsters – particularly in light of next year’s general elections.

Speaking about the DA’s strategies, she said: “We need to be a bit punchier as a party. We should be discussing hard issues like marijuana, drugs, alternative housing solutions.

“Give people housing materials so that they can build their own homes. Cut out the middle man.

“I just feel we are stuck as a country in doing things the same way. What we need is something different.”

Ntuli said the youth structure had spent a lot of time building its structures since 2010, with very few resources.

Now they also want to go out and do more campaigns about issues that matter to young South Africans, like the youth-wage subsidy and jobs.

To that end, the DA Youth at its conference yesterday discussed resolutions that would allow it to do its own fundraising under the DA’s strict rules and would provide for remuneration for its leaders and officials.

Of her own ambitions, Ntuli said she wanted to stay in KwaZulu-Natal for a bit longer and not become a member of Parliament just yet.

“I’m only 25. I like to party and have fun. I want to enjoy my youth. Once you go to Parliament, you have to commute. I want to have a family. I want to date a lot,” she said.

» Former Nelson Mandela Metro University SRC leader Yusuf Cassim was elected chairperson. Thorne Godinho from Pretoria was elected in the media portfolio. Tertius Simmers, a councillor in the Eden municipality, was voted into the youth and training portfolio.

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