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‘I am fueled by rage’: Mbali Ntuli on why she is leaving the political arena

Mbali Ntuli resigned as a DA member and as a member of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature. 

Ntuli says the political system in the country angers her. 

Her departure adds to a list of prominent politicians who have left the DA in the past three years. 

Mbali Ntuli insists that her departure from the DA, which she joined when she was just 19, was not because she felt bitter about losing the race to become the party’s leader. However, she believes that, if she had won, she would not have left the party.

Ntuli tendered her resignation from the DA and as a member of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature on Thursday. 

After 15 years as a politician, with hopes of making a change in the political establishment, Mbali Ntuli believes the state of the country’s political system has made her angry enough to leave.

“I am tired of politicians, who are not prepared to do the hard work, but want some of the perks that come with it. I have been on committees where few of us are awake. Some are sleeping. 

“Those people are not taking their jobs seriously, and no one is taking them to account because of the way our political party system is set up. I am angry and fuelled by some rage, and I hope my righteous anger will align me more with my purpose as I hit the ground,” Ntuli told News24. 

Ntuli’s journey with the DA began when she was a teen and she rose quickly in the party’s ranks to head its youth structure in 2013. Her journey may be viewed as a stunning political rise for a black woman, who helped grow the DA’s outreach in rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal. 

She said this was one of her most memorable accomplishments in the DA as she leaves the political arena. 

The work she’s done at the party has done very little to change her view of the political space in the country. 

She believes there exists no political alternative that can help take the country out of its unequal circumstances.

Ntuli said:I also think there is no vision for the country and how to make the country just and equitable for everyone. We move from crisis to crisis in this country. We just cannot live in this political system. Even with the formation of coalitions, you do not get a sense that these people are adults, and they are the best of what we have in the country.

She said South Africans need a better quality of life.

“The cost of living is too high in this country, but I think there should be food security and communities should have water. It is not like innovation does not exist. But I cannot decipher whether it is gross incompetence or general laziness or maladministration,” Ntuli said. 

Ntuli’s views on the political dynamics facing the country do not exclude her long-standing views on the DA. She surprised some within the DA’s ranks when she decided to contest for the position of party leader. Ntuli lost by 80% to John Steenhuisen. 

During her campaigning, she did not shy away from sharing her concerns about the party’s direction.

She doesn’t regret daring to run for the position, and she likely would not have left the party had she won the race.

Ntuli explained: Probably not, because I would have been able to put a lot of the things that I have been thinking about into action within the party. Even after I lost, I stayed for a long time because I respected the democratic process. It is good to know when it’s time to leave the stage.

On her analysis of the DA’s political future, Ntuli said the party would have to do introspection on its approach to winning over voters and addressing its political culture, if it ever wants to increase its electoral margins. 

The party has lost several members in the past three years, including former leader Mmusi Maimane, Phumzile van Damme, John Moodey, Herman Mashaba and Athol Trollip. 

Ntuli said the DA would have a challenging task on its hands to undo the electoral losses experienced in the past two elections.

“I think it’s hard to turn back a trend heading towards another direction. There should have never been a case where the ANC should still be dominant, considering how formidable an opposition party the DA was. There should have never been an ActionSA that has taken votes away and even FF Plus that has had some form of resurgence. Those are the questions for the leaders of the day,” she said. 

Community work

Ntuli, whose outreach work helped build support for her political career, said she was heading back to working with communities. 

She plans on creating a non-profit organisation (NPO) that will likely be a formation which is based on outreach work. 

“There are various people and organisations in the country that do outreach work. And I wonder whether we do not need a system based on collaboration, on the kind of change we want to see. I have no concrete plan. 

“How would you be able to create something that an ordinary South African would feel, without politics, they could still be able to contribute to the county? I want to create an organisation that is probably an NPO that will have the space to do many things,” Ntuli said.




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