Mbali Ntuli's tweet led to a war of words with former DA chief whip Douglas Gibson.
Mbali Ntuli's tweet led to a war of words with former DA chief whip Douglas Gibson.

Mbali Ntuli and Douglas Gibson in Twitter spat over lockdown income

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Apr 13, 2020

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Cape Town -  DA MPL Mbali Ntuli has taken on veteran politician and former opposition chief whip Douglas Gibson, who at the weekend discounted her leading the party.
It started when Ntuli posted a photo of her two parked minibus taxis, which she described as "my source of income".
"Majority of my salary goes to supporting my extended family because I'm one of the 3 people employed in my family. There are no easy choices during this lockdown," she said in her initial tweet.

Gibson said Ntuli did a great job to support her extended family but overlooked her R1 million annual salary as an MPL in calculating her "source of income".

"Many in SA would think that this, with her other business, put her into a good financial position," he tweeted.

When asked by a Twitter user what point he was making as a supporter of interim party leader John Steenhuisen, Gibson said he hoped that the person posing that question would campaign for the DA if Ntuli won the leadership.

"We ought not to plead poverty while receiving salary and benefits most SAfricans can only dream of," he added.

It was at this point that Ntuli tweeted angrily asking what problem Gibson has with her.

"I've never met you but have seen from quarters of the party a vitriolic email you wrote about yet not to me. Now you claim I pleaded poverty when I didn't," she said.

Gibson said he had responded to an email from one of Ntuli's supporters.

"I refuse to spar with you in public. I rather like your feisty spirit & am proud we have young people like you in DA.

"You are not nearly qualified to lead the opposition in SA. Perhaps with more experience you will be," he said. 

Another twitter user, Nomfundo Mcetywa, noted that Gibson was belittling Ntuli.

"A typical white man putting a black woman in her space," Mcetywa said. 

Gibson protested saying he had supported former DA parliamentary leaders Lindiwe Mazibuko and Mmusi Maimane.

"Despite some wonderful qualities both found leading opp(osition) not easy.  

"Mbali, despite her million job, seems to be claiming poverty. Unwise & untrue. Glad you vote for Mbali," he added.

In numbered tweets, Ntuli said Gibson was not only insinuating something in the email but humiliated her in public.

She said in his email Gibson had called her a nobody from KwaZulu-Natal and was convinced she was "bad news" and "piece of poison" after speaking to Steenhuisen. 

'So no I don't believe that you like my feisty attitude but that's ok it's your opinion," she said.

Ntuli said she entered the leadership race to end the elitist culture that one needed to belong to some club in order to serve and give direction to the DA.

"I'm running in order for anybody who believes he/she has something to offer and are willing to hard in service of others has a fair shot to be a leader. 

Whatever their age, race, gender as long there is fairness and an open mind to hearing them."

Ntuli said she was also running because "I'm weird, an outsider, not your typical politician ….

"I hope I win but even if I lose I'm hoping that I  would have at least made it easier for the next person who doesn't fit the mould to have an easier chance to a path to victory." 

Gibson, who acknowledged having read Ntuli's 12 points, said it was good she was fighting her corner but had told a fib or two.

After taking some flak, he charged that Ntuli's fan club was giving her moribund campaign oxygen.

"Perhaps I should just smile & take the abuse?" He said.

Political Bureau

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