Former DA youth leader targets leadership role
Durban - The newly-appointed DA KwaZulu-Natal legislature caucus spokeswoman, Mbali Ntuli, is plotting her way back into national politics two years after she quit as the party’s youth leader.
Earlier this week, Ntuli was appointed as caucus spokeswoman - a move that could propel her towards a leadership role in the DA.
In her new role she is following in the steps of former party spokespeople - Lindiwe Mazibuko, Helen Zille and Mmusi Maimane - who went on to become leaders in the DA and Parliament.
On Thursday, Ntuli confirmed to the Daily News that she had been nominated as one of four candidates vying for election as KZN MPL representatives in the Federal Council.
Also nominated for the contest today are Hlanganani Gumbi, Imran Keeka and Rafeek Shah.
“We need just three, so we will have to drop one,” DA KZN leader Zwakele Mncwango said earlier this week.
Ntuli said she had been lobbying hard to clinch one of the posts.
“I think my chances are good, but you never know until you get the actual results,” she said.
The position will give her a chance to get a crack back at Federal Council, after a fall-out with former party leader, Helen Zille two years ago - after she criticised the DA’s plan to march on ANC head offices.
Zille had responded to her as being unprofessional for failing to respond to her text messages.
Reports at the time had suggested that Ntuli’s resignation had been part of provincial power politics that were being plotted at provincial rather than national level.
This came as she was deployed to head rural-based Umkhanyakude constituency in the northern part of KZN by then caucus leader Sizwe Mchunu, despite her protests.
Ntuli, however, maintains that she had not quit because of a strained relationship with Zille.
“I left when I resigned as a youth leader. The reason I had to resign as youth leader was that I wanted to focus on Umkhanyakude.
“It was the right decision because, as a result, I won the DA the most seats it has ever won in Umkhanyakude District,” Ntuli said.
The DA had in the recent municipal elections won seats in municipalities falling under the Umkhanyakude district, such as Mtubatuba and Jozini.
Ntuli has been credited within her party for mobilising and growing the DA support in the area.
“For me it was a right choice politically to leave being a youth leader. I think the results speak for themselves that I was right all along,” she said.
Ntuli said she was humbled to be nominated to serve once more on the federal structure.
“I used to be on it as youth leader. I’m excited to go back, because I think that I will definitely be one of the people giving KZN a stronger voice at national level.”
Commenting on her appointment as caucus spokeswoman in the legislature, Ntuli said it was an exciting development for her career.
“I think it will help the party grow. I take it as real challenge and look forward to it.”
Her immediate task was to make sure that whatever the DA says was well publicised and that everybody knew exactly what the DA’s position was on important KZN matters ahead of 2019.
“With the position of spokeswoman, definitely, you get exposure in different parts of the organisation that you might not otherwise have been in a position to, and as a result, people are able to see the full range of your abilities.”
Ntuli also said she wanted play an active role in ensuring that the DA brought the ANC’s support to below 50% in 2019.
“That is why I made myself available for a position in the caucus,” she said.
“I’m excited about this new appointment. I’m going to do my best,” Ntuli said.
“If it all goes well, I would like to see myself take a bigger role in leading the party in whatever capacity that I can in KZN,” she said, indicating the direction of her leadership ambition in the next three years.