Everything you need to know about Mbali Ntuli’s push for DA top job

Mbali Ntuli launched her campaign for the DA's top position in Rosebank, Johannesburg, on Friday.
Mbali Ntuli launched her campaign for the DA's top position in Rosebank, Johannesburg, on Friday.
Image: Supplied

Mbali Ntuli has made clear her intention to run for the DA’s top job. It will see her compete with John Steenhuisen, the party's interim leader.

Ntuli, 31, is a member of the DA legislature in KwaZulu-Natal and the province's former campaigns director.

During the announcement of her candidacy on Friday, Ntuli was critical of the party’s leadership, saying she believes the DA needs “a new way”, which values strength, fairness and kindness.

The DA has seen major changes in its leadership since the resignation of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba, federal council chairperson Athol Trollip and its leader, Mmusi Maimane, who was replaced by Steenhuisen.

They announced their resignations, a few days apart, in October 2019, shortly after Helen Zille returned to the party.

Here are five reasons Ntuli believes she is the best candidate to take the embattled party forward.

Right the wrongs of the past

Ntluli said being a black woman qualifies her to be the next leader of the DA and that having lived the experiences of scores of black South Africans, she wants to ensure the legacy of apartheid is done away with for the advancement of the previously oppressed.

“My ancestors in this country have been shackled by the oppressive state which has always made them believe they were inferior. I'm running because I grew up in townships. rural areas, where I was in charge of lighting candles when it got dark at my grandmother's home, eMaphumulo.”

Change the image of the DA

Seemingly taking a swipe at DA federal council chairperson Zille for her controversial views, Ntuli said this is not all there is to the party. She wants to show South Africans that there are more voices in the DA whose views are not controversial.

“We can show South Africans the kind of DA people that I know, not the ones that are known for tweeting other things. The DA has people who work incredibly hard and have sacrificed so much. That is the kind of DA I want to highlight. I want to build a party where all these local heroes are known.”

Build branches for the DA

Ntuli said her ability to win the party new supporters in Durban's Ntuzuma and KwaMashu townships, which are dominated by the ANC, as well as at the Umkhanyakude district in northern KwaZulu-Natal, shows her tenacity.

“I've worked on the ground and I understand what it is to work in townships and in the rural areas, and build structures and grass roots activism.”


Ntuli wants to champion inclusivity in the DA and ensure South Africans of different backgrounds see themselves represented in the party.

“I believe if we can lead and take decisions as a party from a place of kindness and empathy, then we can show South Africans that the DA stands firm against any tyranny and is a champion for everyone, no matter who you are.”

Fair decision-making processes

Ntuli believes in inclusive decision-making processes, which she hopes to incorporate should she take over the party's top job.

Speaking on the appointment of the DA's head of policy, Gwen Ngwenya, she said more people should have been involved in Ngwenya's unusual appointment. She said the leadership of the party should have been given an opportunity to study the drafts of its policies.

“The way in which Miss Ngwenywa was appointed was procedurally different to others, but it was at a time in the party when we had all our leadership resign and so I think there was a gap for that appointment.”