No dictatorship in KZN DA - provincial leader

2015-05-05 13:54
Newly elected KwaZulu-Natal DA leader Zwakele Mncwango. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Newly elected KwaZulu-Natal DA leader Zwakele Mncwango. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Durban - Battle lines appear to have been drawn in KwaZulu-Natal as claims of dictatorship and infighting fly in the Democratic Alliance ahead of Wednesday’s by-election in Mtubatuba, northern KwaZulu-Natal.

But newly elected provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango has dismissed the claims as baseless and untrue.

“People will always grumble. The party is uniting and getting ready for tomorrow’s by-elections, Mncwango told News24.

News24 understands that a high level Provincial Executive Committee teleconference took place on Monday night where members, including DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen, Zwakele Mncwango and former provincial leader Sizwe Mchunu, discussed several issues affecting KwaZulu-Natal.  

At the centre of the fracas is the speculation that five DA candidates in Mtubatuba have apparently withdrawn from Wednesday’s’ by-election, where a total of 19 wards are being contested.

Delegates who asked not to be named have blamed the alleged mass exodus on infighting and allegations of dictatorship.

“We had five candidates in Mtubatuba and they have all [allegedly] withdrawn from the election. The DA is in a sticky situation at the moment. The DA provincial congress was one of the most divisive ones we have had in years. There are clear lines that have been drawn in the party because of the outcome of the conference.

“Instead of uniting the party in KZN, more divisions have been created,” said a high ranking member of the party.

'Five DA candidates have joined the NFP'

Another party insider said: “Five of our candidates have [allegedly] resigned and joined the NFP because they allege that Mbali Ntuli is a dictator and is never seen doing her work. We haven’t lost this number of candidates since the 1980s in a by-election.

“The DA in KZN is falling apart and I can tell you that during the teleconference the newly elected provincial leader tried to shut down the debate, but he was defeated. We basically do not have councillors in that area and we were hoping to get just two PR councillors, but now we can’t because the party in KZN is in tatters and the province is deeply divided.”

He added that the divisions became apparent during the 2015 DA Provincial Congress recently held in Richards Bay, where eThekwini caucus leader Mnwango beat his opponent Mchunu by five votes.

“It’s questionable how Zwakele is going to unite the party when he is struggling to unite us internally, but at least this won’t impact us nationally,” added the source.

Mchunu confirmed that there was a teleconference on Monday night.

“It was intended at dealing with various issues affecting the party, but I am no longer the party’s spokesperson so that is all I can tell you."

'I am very concerned'

Chief Whip John Steenhuisen also confirmed the PEC teleconference, but said he could not divulge the contents of the meeting.

“What I can tell you is that I am very concerned about Mtubatuba,” he said.

KZN MPL Mbali Ntuli rubbished the claims made against her.

“I know of one candidate that left, but that is because he was facing disciplinary action. I have heard of others, but this has not been confirmed. This has nothing to do with me or the party.”

She said there were people who were trying to cause divisions in the party.

“My work speaks for itself. There is nothing more to say,” said Ntuli.

Mncwango agreed with Ntuli.

“There are no problems in the party in KZN at the moment. If there were problems in Mtubatuba, I would be there right now addressing those problems.”

'Allegations are baseless'

Mncwango said his door was always open to people to discuss their grievances, but he does not deal with “faceless sources”.

“Come to me and discuss your problems and allegations, don’t go to the media. The allegations are baseless, because no one has resigned from the party because of Mbali.”

Mncwango said he would not tolerate ill-discipline in the party.

“Some of our members are disgruntled because of the outcome from the congress and now they are running to the media to talk about it.”

He said he was going to Mtubatuba on Tuesday to monitor the situation.

“I am only willing to work with people who are willing to work to grow and unite the party. We will not allow any ill-discipline and disruptions in this party,” said Mncwango.

KZN political analyst Protas Madlala offered a word of caution to the media.

“They have to be very careful in their reporting of these things because there seems to be a campaign that wants to create divisions where maybe there aren't any divisions.”

“Take everything with a pinch of salt. You will find that there are some people that are fighting Mchunu’s battle. Some people are just still licking their wounds,” added Madlala. 

Read more on:    nfp  |  da  |  sizwe mchunu  |  john steenhuisen  |  durban ­  |  politics

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