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DA puts Ntuli disciplinary hearing on hold

Politics
Johannesburg - The DA has postponed the disciplinary hearing against its former youth leader Mbali Ntuli, paving the way for mediation to resolve the divisive saga.

On Wednesday, former DA leader and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille told The Star it would be best for mediation to occur between Ntuli and acting DA Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela, who laid the complaint against her.

Ntuli is facing charges of bringing the party into disrepute after she liked a Facebook post calling Zille a racist, among others.

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Former DA youth leader Mbali Ntuli would not comment.

The KwaZulu-Natal MPL was meant to appear at a disciplinary hearing in Durban on Thursday.

This was despite the party’s independent disciplinary structure, the federal legal commission (FLC), having already absolved her of any wrongdoing.

The case has exposed serious divisions within the party, with some insiders blaming Zille for the damage it has caused. The mediation efforts were an attempt to get a peace deal that will stop the raging debate over the issue.

DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe confirmed that there were mediation efforts afoot.

“This was a suggestion by Ms Ntuli’s attorney. I must still see whether the federal executive (fedex) will agree (to it).”

The party’s fedex, which consists of provincial leaders, among others, will meet in Joburg on June 2-3.

Later in the month, the party’s federal council is expected to meet in Durban, where the case was set to dominate the discussions.

FLC chairperson advocate Glynnis Breytenbach confirmed that the hearing had been postponed at the request of Ntuli’s attorney.

“It has not been postponed indefinitely, but will be enrolled as soon as the documents requested have been supplied to Ms Ntuli’s legal representative and a new, mutually convenient date has been arranged,” she said.

Breytenbach said she was not aware of any “mediation efforts under way between Ms Ntuli and Mr Madikizela”.

The fissures over Ntuli’s matter came after Zille, who has had run-ins with Ntuli in the past, was recently charged for her colonialism tweets.

The animosity between the pair saw Zille taking to Twitter recently and posting: “MBALI was charged LONG before me. Pls get yr facts b4 jumping to false conclusions.”

This led to Ntuli responding: “No I wasn’t, Helen. I was charged on Friday (a fortnight ago).”

Last week, DA leader Mmusi Maimane told The Star that the FLC needed to facilitate mediation between Ntuli and Zille “because it seems a matter between two people is now being turned into a party issue".

But when asked if she was willing to work out her differences with Ntuli, Zille told The Star that mediation needed to take place between Ntuli and Madikizela.

“If it is on the specific issue of (Ntuli’s) social media post about me, I have not taken it up or pursued it, so mediation between me and her on that issue would serve no purpose. It would be best for mediation to occur between (Ntuli) and the person who laid the complaint.”

Zille said she had “absolutely nothing to do with the complaint against Ntuli. I did not initiate it, instigate it or influence it in any way."

Madikizela, who is said to be close to Zille, seemed to tone down on Ntuli on Wednesday and spoke glowingly of her, saying they had always enjoyed a good friendship and were not enemies.

“There is no hatchet to bury, actually. Let the FLC decide whether our social media policy was breached. Personally, I have never had an issue with (Ntuli).

"Even after laying the complaint against her, I informed her, because it doesn’t mean we are enemies.

"Let the party’s internal processes decide who’s right and who’s wrong,” he said.

“For me, this is a straightforward issue: I was uncomfortable with (Ntuli’s) conversation on social media. My problem and discomfort is that there are platforms within the party that a member can use to raise those concerns, instead of bashing a fellow colleague in public,” he said.

When contacted for comment, Ntuli was cautious, saying she was ready to present her case when the disciplinary hearing finally sat.

“I can’t discuss too much about that now because I’m still in discussions with my attorney,” she added.

Political Bureau

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