By Hlanganani Gumbi
The DA Federal Congress has finally arrived and will no doubt provide direction and clarity for our party and its leadership. This happens at a time when South Africa is in deep trouble.
The future of so many of our citizens hangs in the balance as our country sits paralysed in both an economic and political crisis.
No matter what the outcome of this weekend’s leadership race, the DA must reaffirm its commitment to build the moderate centre and realign politics in order to save our country.
Much has been written about this weekend’s contest. Most disappointing was former Chief Whip and Thailand Ambassador Douglas Gibson’s recent piece, where in a patronising, ageist and condescending sentiment calls Mbali Ntuli ‘too early’ in her contest for the leadership of the DA.
He goes on to label Mbali as unqualified to lead the opposition and go toe-to-toe with the president. He is simply wrong and is being highly divisive for the democratic project which the DA is engaged in.
The truth is, both John Steenhuisen and Mbali are capable to lead the Democratic Alliance into the future. They are both different and bring different skill sets to their leadership styles from which the party benefits.
Mbali, a former youth leader and member of the federal executive, business woman, second term parliamentarian and former director in the party has shattered the glass ceiling that so many talented people are unable to break. That in itself is highly remarkable and is something that makes me incredibly proud.
The many of us in the party who support Mbali’s candidature do so because we believe she has the experience, talent and reach to help us inspire millions of South Africans to believe in our party, our values and assist us realign politics for their benefit. We do not put down John in order to support Mbali.
We value both our colleagues because they are both important to our shared purpose.
At the end of the day, it is the delegates who will make the choices which will shape our country and party. That is a decision we must all support because we will live with its consequences.
I am certain that no matter who is elected, our party will do exactly that. The future of our country and party depends on it.
* Hlanganani Gumbi is a Member of Parliament and the DA’s shadow deputy minister for Tourism.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL.