The DA’s interim leader John Steenhuisen. Picture: Zodidi Dano/Cape Argus
The DA’s interim leader John Steenhuisen. Picture: Zodidi Dano/Cape Argus

John Steenhuisen takes swipe at Mbali Ntuli in leaked internal letter

By Sihle Mavuso Time of article published Sep 17, 2020

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Durban — Almost six weeks before the DA hosts its federal congress to elect leaders, the party’s interim leader, John Steenhuisen, has taken what is seen as an indirect swipe at his opponent, Mbali Ntuli.

In a letter to party members titled “Let’s protect the party we love” Steenhuisen told members that when he launched his campaign for the position of the national leader in February this year, he told them that “there is nothing wrong with the DA that can’t be fixed with what is right with the DA”.

The letter was seen as a response to Ntuli who had earlier this week penned an internal letter (which was later leaked to the media) to DA members, asking them to vote for her because she intends to fix the party rattled by resignations of top leaders.

In the letter, Ntuli said the DA’s problems were not race-related but were caused by some within the party who use disciplinary hearings to stifle those with dissenting voices.

She promised them that should she be elected, she would have to fix the party’s internal judiciary, the federal legal commission, which is said to be open to abuse by leaders seeking to entrench themselves and their cliques. She claimed they use it to initiate bogus charges aimed at expelling them or forcing those targeted to eventually resign.

Steenhuisen said in the letter he was not blind to the problems facing the party and working in collaboration with party members, the party and its problems could be fixed.

“I also told you that I love the party more than I covet any position. That is why I have never sought once to trash the party in public, because I will never thrash the party I love. And I know, as you know, that voters are turned off when the DA turns inwards. Our own review report told us this. Voters rightfully ask themselves, “if the DA is fighting amongst themselves, when will they fight for me?” he wrote.

Steenhuisen said instead of going public about party’s problems and how they could be fixed, he recently used the avenues of the federal council and the recent virtual policy conference on how they can fix them.

“Whoever is elected, the congress (elective conference) will need to lead our party into local government elections next year. It will serve no one, particularly our own aspirants candidates and current councillors, to undermine our electoral prospects by attacking the party we love.

“That is why I want to assure you that the well-being and brand of the DA will always be front and centre of everything I do. I want to get as many councillors across the finish line next year, and we can only do so if we are seen as a functioning party that fights for the interests of citizens and not amongst itself for the sake of media clicks and headlines,” he concluded his letter.

Steenhuisen confirmed that he wrote the letter and said it was solely for campaign purposes.

“I’m currently campaigning for the leadership of the party, it was a communication to delegates, as one does when campaigning,” he said.

Ntuli was yet to comment about Steenhuisen’s letter.

Political Bureau

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