With SA crippled by Covid-19 containment measures and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) driven by corruption, infighting and flagging support, the next elections stand to be the most crucial since 1994 – ripe for the official opposition to make inroads, if it can show a positive way forward for voters of all persuasions.
Mbali Ntuli believes she is the person to do this. And losing the Democratic Alliance (DA) leadership race in October to party veteran John Steenhuisen has not changed her conviction, unTrumpishly gracious as she has been in her defeat.
"I wish John well," she says. "I didn’t think I’d win, but I wanted the platform to speak out, because in the leadership race, candidates have carte blanche to say what they can’t say ordinarily. There were things that needed to be said about how to position the party to take a serious stab at governing the country. I got the conversation going in that direction. Now I intend to take those issues forward for all South Africans. I believe I’m uniquely equipped to do so."