DA Youth smears continue in cyberspace
The fight about leadership positions in the Democratic Alliance (DA) Youth has intensified with images of an angry cellphone message about youth chairperson Mbali Ntuli doing the rounds.
The message was sent by former University of Cape Town SRC chairperson Gwen Ngwenya, who was in the running to challenge Ntuli for the leadership of the DA Youth at its conference in April.
Ngwenya is, however, no longer in the race because she recently left to work and study in France.
In the SMS she said Ntuli “lacks substance and is mediocre at best”.
Ngwenya also says Ntuli “symbolises all that I loathe about talentless opportunists. I don’t wish her any harm but I can’t pretend I wouldn’t be happy if people like her were not elected to lead.”
The SMS apparently refers to a recorded voice note by Ntuli, dating from the middle of last year, in which she gives her frank opinion about possible challengers and which has been widely distributed in an effort to discredit her.
It has also resulted in a slanging match on Ntuli’s Facebook page which was subsequently deleted.
Ngwenya has been accused of “stealing” the clip by DA Youth insiders, but she told City Press the clips were sent to her by a person she would prefer not to name.
“I had no intention that they should gain a wide audience; it would have been a step towards the juvenile soap opera I was determined for the DA Youth not to become,” she said.
She said the clips made their way to Werner Teubes, who is set to run for DA Youth chairperson, and who was criticised in one of the voice notes.
Ngwenya said the clips “made their way to Werner because they concerned him. Beyond that I cannot account for how they have been used.”
Teubes has admitted to distributing the voice notes because he felt Ntuli “has an iron fist”.
He said she repeatedly postponed the long-overdue DA Youth elective conference because it suited her better.
Johannesburg City councillor Toni Molefe to date has emerged as the only other challenger for the leadership position.
Ntuli, however, said the conference was postponed because the structures in all the provinces weren’t ready.
“I would also like to have this conference as soon as possible. My job as chairperson is to deal with internal structures. I was the person who said I didn’t think the structures were ready,” she said, adding she wanted the conference to be done properly.
Both Ntuli and Ngwenya admitted to not liking each other.
Ngwenya implied to City Press that Ntuli would not be the right person to lead the DA Youth at a time when it should be becoming more independent from its mother body.
“The DA Youth has emerged from a re-birthing phase with the party holding its hand. As it should have been,” she said.
But she said some in the youth wanted the organisation “to develop its own content and to engage more strategically and critically with the party internally. That requires a politics weighed more heavily towards content above packaging,” she said.
Head of the DA’s federal legal commission Hendrik Schmidt confirmed that he had received complaints from the DA Youth about dirty campaigning, but said he was still in the process of studying these.