DA MP Hlanganani Gumbi has backed former DA Youth leader Mbali Ntuli to become the party’s next leader in her quest to succeed former leader Mmusi Maimane.
Last month, Ntuli raised her hand to challenge the party’s interim leader John Steenhuisen and DA Gauteng leader John Moody in the race for DA leader.
Gumbi, in endorsing Ntuli, said Ntuli was a candidate with “a clean break from the past”.
Gumbi said he had opted to throw his weight behind Ntuli’s campaign because she represented the future of the party and the country at large.
Earlier this month, Ntuli announced her intention to take on Steenhuisen and Moody in what is expected to be a bruising battle to become the leader of the country’s official opposition party.
As always, I’m transparent with who I support in any leadership election.
I’m proud of the caliber of leaders we have in all the candidates. This upcoming congress, however, I will be supporting @mbalimcdust for DA Leader for various reasons.
Maimane dumped the party last year shortly after Helen Zille was elected as the party’s federal council chairperson.
In announcing her candidacy, Ntuli said that she did not think that the current leadership of the DA would be able to deal with challenges facing the party.
Making clear his support of Ntuli on his website, Gumbi said that she was best able to inspire all people to vote for the DA and that she was authentically comfortable in all communities.
“She is a clean break from the past, her ethos of kind, strong and fair leadership is what we need in our party,” Gumbi wrote.
Speaking to Independent Media on Thursday, Gumbi said Ntuli was best positioned to be able to inspire new voters to support the DA.
He said the DA had to become the core of a new government soon and that Ntuli authentically connected with all communities.
Despite Ntuli’s tender age, 31, Gumbi said that she was experienced enough to become the leader of the country’s official opposition party as she had been in the party and a public servant for over a decade.
“Her roots in the DA even date back to PFP stalwart Roger Burrows when her family was introduced to the party. She represents a new start and has a real feel for the organisation.
“Everywhere in the world, young leaders are taking over the reins. We must not get left behind,” said Gumbi.
With Ntuli’s relationship with Zille known to be fractious, Gumbi said this would have no bearing on her prospects of success as the pair had worked together for many years.
“I believe they both are very clear that the party needs to get back on track and working together would be nothing new,” said Gumbi.
Towards the end of 2019, the DA saw the departure of senior African leaders of the party such as Maimane and former Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba due to differences over the direction the party was taking.
When quizzed whether the DA was ready and open for another African leader, Gumbi said: “Delegates are ready for a new leader who can offer a new and refreshing change from the past. Our party did have a tough year, and people are ready to rebuild in a new way.”