Chairperson of DA federal council James Selfe has poured water over allegations that Mbali Ntuli is being victimised for being an outspoken black leader who speaks truth to power.
The DA legal commission confirms that it had handed in a report on the incident involving Ntuli ‘liking’ a Facebook post in December 2016 proclaiming that “Helen Zille is a racist”. The legal commission had advised the federal council that it not charge Ntuli over this incident.
Glynnis Breytenbach, the chairperson of the legal commission, confirmed that the structure of the party she headed had recommended that the party leave the matter. But they had decided to go against that advice. “I don’t think she is being targeted, everybody in the DA is subjected to the same constitution, and it’s the federal council prerogative to proceed with the charges,” she said.
Ntuli had gone further than ‘liking’ the post, explaining that the matter may create the impression that some members of the party receive different treatment within the DA.
Selfe first told The Citizen in a telephonic interview that the investigation was concluded much earlier than Helen Zille’s one, which explained why the decision to charge her was made before Zille’s colonialism rants. “The federal council, upon receiving legal federal commission (LFC), disagreed that she not be charged. This was done on the basis of upholding consistency in the party,” he said.
When probed on whether that was creating an impression that Ntuli was being made a scapegoat by the party leadership, Selfe was bashful. “I have no idea what impression this decision is creating, nor do I have an interest in finding out. We are applying our rules and policies. I am also denying that there are factional battles within the DA,” he said.
In a written reply, Selfe wrote: “Ms Dianne Kohler-Barnard was charged with, and sanctioned for, reposting an offensive Facebook post. The federal executive believed that this fell into a similar category.”
When pressed on whether that did not create an impression that the elbowing of former parliamentary party leader Lindiwe Mazibuko and now the disciplinary action against Ntuli was an indication that DA was not open to internal debate, party leader Mmusi Maimane, speaking through his spokesperson Mabine Seabi, directed all queries to Selfe.
Attempts to get comment from Ntuli failed. She had told the media over that she was still consulting with her lawyers.