Steenhuisen and Ntuli in final push for right to lead DA

DA leader candidates Mbali Ntuli and John Steenhuisen
DA leader candidates Mbali Ntuli and John Steenhuisen
Image: NOMAZIMA NKOSI

In a final push to woo delegates, DA leader hopefuls John Steenhuisen and Mbali Ntuli delivered their last speeches on Saturday, stressing the importance of putting South Africans first.

The two are going head-to-head for the right to lead the DA for the next three years.

More than 2,000 delegates will vote in a new leadership this weekend.

The virtual elective congress started on Saturday and with the new federal leadership expected to be announced at 2pm on Sunday.

While Ntuli spoke from the heart and spoke to every member of the party, Steenhuisen used his platform to speak out against those who had shared the party's internal affairs on social media.

Ntuli said she wanted everyone in the party to feel included and be emboldened enough to give input on where the party should be going.

"The idea of thinking differently is not a bad thing. The idea of diversity as one our principles is one that should be cherished as the DA and I want to move our party to a place where everyone has the equal ability to be able to say where the party is going and how we should be talking to voters on the ground," she said.

Ntuli said the DA existed to try and win votes and show South Africans just what the party was capable of.

"The best things about us is that we have good people who've devoted their time to the DA. Our cause is for all South Africans to live a better life. 

"I want us as a party to leverage this. Let's show them who we already are. Let's equip councillors to be able to build the brand that can show South Africans at the coalface of politics that the DA is with them in all aspects," she said.

Steenhuisen said when he put up his hand a year ago, he did so knowing the party had its wings clipped.

The DA was forced to go to an early election following the shock resignations of party leader Mmusi Maimane and chair Athol Trollip.

"Instead of threatening to leave the party I love I asked all of you to join hands with me and instead of criticising the DA in the media, I worked hard to rebuild its image.

"We all know that SA can only work if DA works," he said.

Steenhuisen said the secret ingredient to the DA which had moved it from a 1% party to the official opposition was its committed activists.

"I really believe that reigniting this base will be key to winning from the ANC in 2024 [general elections].

"Every single member of the party must focus on the citizens, must give them permission to hope again and the audacity to dream of a better future and a promise of stability," he said.

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