DA don’t all dance the same

2014-08-25 00:00

DESPITE arguing strongly against a constituency posting, these are the cards that have been dealt to the DA’s youth leader Mbali Ntuli.

On Friday, Ntuli told party leaders that she would resign as leader of the DA Youth before the end of her term.

Ntuli (26) grew up in Durban and was headgirl of Wykeham Collegiate in Pietermaritzburg. She spoke to The Witness yesterday and would not be drawn into speculation that her resignation was due to an acrimonious relationship with party leader Helen Zille.

Some party insiders believe Ntuli’s resignation was orchestrated at provincial rather than national level. It related to provincial power struggles.

Ntuli fell out of favour with Zille last year after she criticised the party’s plan to march on Luthuli House.

Zille then described Ntuli as being unprofessional for not replying to her text messages.

Before the national election, Ntuli was a caretaker leader of Mkhanyakude District, where the DA had no structures previously and where she was expected to build the party branches from scratch. Ntuli said she resigned as youth leader because it would have been difficult to keep up her national commitments while working as a constituency leader in Mkhanyakude, bordering on Mozambique.

Insiders say that she argued strongly against her constituency posting. A reason cited was the distance from airports and the fact that as youth leader she needed to fly to national meetings. Ntuli had recently returned from the United States where she had spent several weeks on President Obama’s Young African Leadership Programme.

Despite making her views known about her constituency preferences, she returned to find that she was given Mkhanyakude. Ntuli yesterday told The Witness that she would use her time as constituency leader in the remote Mkhanyakude district to regroup.

“I want to think about how I want to be a politician in the future,” she said.

She had to make a decision on a way forward and is believed to have given up the Youth leader post because she had not been given much support in that position. Her choice to stick with KZN as an MPL and constituency leader is seen as part of a long-term plan to strengthen her position in her home province. Ntuli agrees that KZN is an important province politically. She said going into a new constituency with no structures was daunting, but she was looking at it as a challenge.

Ntuli also added that she would still keep in touch with youth affairs as she was involved in various projects. She would like to see the DA Youth as a robust body that would challenge the party on issues. Ntuli said there was a belief that everyone in the DA danced to the same tune. “This is not the case. There is lively and vibrant debate. I was a robust debater myself and it is a way of having an open and honest conversation,” she said.

• nalini@witness.co.za

BENEDICT Xolani Dube of the Xubera Institute for Research said positions in political parties were always up for a contest.

“If you don’t have the heart and mettle to take the heat you are unable to survive. A voluntary resignation is an indica-tion of how immature you are politically.”

Dube also said Ntuli could have surrendered because she could not fight any more in the politics game, which was about back-stabbing and pushing your way up the ladder. “There is nothing sinister. Politics is about how you plot your game,” he said referring to how politicians climb and descend from positions of power.

DA Youth chairperson Yusuf Cassim said Ntuli’s resignation was not a massive issue. “The DA Youth is in a process to constitute its structures ahead of the congress. We will go to a congress in any case,” Cassim said.

He said the elective congress would be conve-ned in six months’ time to elect new leadership after its last congress was held in May 2013.

The branches at ward level are holding annual general meetings and this would be followed by constituencies, regions and provinces.

Cassim also said he would step in as the DA Youth leader in line with the constitution following Ntuli’s resignation until the federal council meet-ing next week to confirm the caretaker leader.

• Sizwe Mchunu, DA leader in KZN, said the allocation of public representatives according to constituencies was determined based on the number of seats the party obtained in Parliament and legislature.

In this case, Mchunu said, the DA has 20 MPs and MPLs and the province was divided into 20 constituencies with effect earlier this month.

He explained that each constituency submitted three names of public representatives in order of preference and the public representatives had to do the same thing.

He said the final decision on where a public representative was allocated was taken by the provincial execu-tive. “Mbali has indicated that she wants to make an impact in her constituency and be relieved from other duties,” Mchunu said.

Mbali Ntuli, who is to resign as leader of the DA Youth.

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