Much has been made of the DA’s elective conference where John Steenhuisen and Mbali Ntuli are contesting for the party’s top leadership position.
- John Steenhuisen has the support of seven of the nine provincial leaders, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde and Cape Town mayor Dan Plato.
- Mbali Ntuli has the support of youth leader Luyolo Mphiti, KZN provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango and high-profile Gauteng MPL Makashule Gana.
- The winner will be announced on Sunday.
While some undecided DA federal congress delegates would have received phone calls lobbying their support in the leadership battle between John Steenhuisen and Mbali Ntuli, several high-profile DA members have already made it very clear who they support.
Interim and parliamentary leader, Steenhuisen, had public endorsements from seven of the nine provincial leaders – Mpumalanga’s Jane Sithole, Limpopo’s Jacques Smalle, North West’s Joe McGluwa, the Northern Cape’s Andrew Louw, the Western Cape’s Bonginkosi Madikizela and the Eastern Cape’s Nqaba Bhanga.
KwaZulu-Natal leader Zwakele Mncwango has publicly endorsed Ntuli. Ntuli also has the public support of some of her colleagues in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature, like MPL Martin Meyer.
Incidentally, both candidates will be in KwaZulu-Natal, their home province, over the weekend. While it is expected to be a stronghold for Ntuli – who has done much activist work to grow the party in the province. The Steenhuisen camp, however, feels this is anything but a done deal.
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Outgoing Free State leader Patricia Kopane hasn’t made a public endorsement.
In the party structures, federal chairperson Ivan Meyer (who stands unopposed in the election) pledged his support for Steenhuisen, while youth leader Luyolo Mphithi endorsed Ntuli.
Meyer is also an MEC in the Western Cape, where Premier Alan Winde also publicly endorsed Steenhuisen, as did Cape Town mayor Dan Plato and several other high-profile public representatives from the province.
With the lion’s share of the delegates – about 700 out of the 2 000 – coming from the Western Cape, solid support from this province is key to become party leader, and those the Steenhuisen camp like their chances.
Steenhuisen has been an MP since 2011 and was chief whip from 2014 until last year, when he was unanimously elected parliamentary leader after Mmusi Maimane’s dramatic exit from the party.
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It is thus no surprise that he has the support of several MPs, including chief whip Natasha Mazzone, Bax Nodada, Mat Cuthbert, Tsepo Mhlongo and Andrew Whitfield, who is also the Eastern Cape’s provincial chair.
Some MPs also publicly backed Ntuli, like Hlanganani Gumbi, Haniff Hoosen and Nomsa Marchesi.
Gauteng MPL Makashule Gana, who stood against Steenhuisen for the interim leader position last November, also expressed his support for Ntuli.
Delegates will start voting at 11:15 and the winner will be announced on Sunday.
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