Cape Town - The DA Youth has announced it will hold a national congress in May, amid a series of cyber spats among senior youth leaders.
At the centre of the furore is a BlackBerry voice note sent by DA Youth chairwoman Mbali Ntuli in which she slated other party youth leaders, including former UCT SRC chairwoman Gwen Ngwenya and Gauteng youth leader Werner Teubes.
Ntuli has served as youth chairwoman since 2010.
She and other leaders proposed last year that the youth congress be postponed to allow for more youth structures to be properly constituted, so more people could participate in it.
On Sunday, she confirmed that she planned to run for the position of DA Youth leader, saying she believed current leader Makashule Gana would choose to focus on his new position as the party’s deputy chair, after being elected at last year’s DA congress.
Referring to the spat, Ntuli said voice notes were how “young people communicate”, and that it had been a private conversation with a “third party” whom she did not wish to name.
She said Ngwenya, who is now working and studying in France, had distributed the voice note to others, but it was not clear how it had come into her possession, as it had not been sent to her by Ntuli.
In a statement last week, Ntuli said Ngwenya’s “inability to explain” how the private conversations came into her possession was “disturbing”, and called on her to “answer for her unscrupulous conduct”.
“Ms Ngwenya’s claim that she sent private conversations out of concern for Werner Teubes is misleading. Ms Ngwenya found it convenient to send these voice notes to Mr Werner Teubes so that, in the absence of context, Ms Ngwenya could use Mr Teubes as an ally to discredit Ms Ntuli, as both of them have subsequently attempted to do,” the statement said.
On Sunday, she said it would be up to her or the third party to whom the voice note was originally sent to lay a formal complaint with the party if any disciplinary steps were to be taken against any of the individuals involved.
She accused Teubes of intimidation, saying he had attempted to force an apology for “comments made in private”, in the hope she would withdraw from the election
But Teubes accused Ntuli of lying, saying accusations he tried to threaten or blackmail her were “hogwash” and showed she was “childish” and “lacks substance”.
He said he sent Ntuli “direct messages” on Twitter, wanting to get “her side of the story” after someone in her “inner circle” leaked the voice note.
Referring to Ntuli’s statement, he said: “It’s a novel - it’s more fiction actually. (Her) statement is without any concrete facts. It’s only what she thinks. She was the aggressor from the start.”
He said the voice note in which she said Teubes would be elected “over her dead body” was intimidatory and not “liberal” or “democratic”.