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Ramphele: DA-Agang merger a 'joint mistake'

Sapa

The Agang SA leader says a planned partnership with the DA would not work because "people are trapped in race-based politics".

Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele. (David Harrison, M&G)

The partnership between the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Agang SA fell victim to party politics, Mamphela Ramphele said on Monday.

"Some [people] will not transcend party politics," the Agang SA leader told reporters in Johannesburg. "People are trapped in race-based politics."

On Sunday, the DA announced that Ramphele had gone back on her decision to be the party's presidential candidate, following an announcement last week. 

Ramphele said on Monday that since the announcement she learned to listen to her members.

"There are millions of South Africans who will not vote for the DA," she said. "Our joint mistake was to hope what so many mistrusted would magically disappear."

Ramphele on Monday apologised for the unhappiness caused by her decision not to stand as the DA's presidential candidate, but said she made the right decision.

"I believed that we had the opportunity to transcend party politics and engage South Africans in a conversation about the future," she said. "The last week has demonstrated that, for some, this new way of thinking about our future will be hard to achieve right now."

'A white party remains white'
The ANC's spokesperson Jackson Mthembu told the Mail & Guardian on Monday both the DA and Agang SA had lost credibility after it emerged Ramphele would no longer be joining forces with the DA and standing as its presidential candidate.

It was a mystery to him how a marriage between the two was proposed in the first place, said Mthembu.

"A white party remains white, in the words of Ramphele. Then all of a sudden there was a black face, and that is renting," he said. "Then she suddenly realised how truthful her own statements had been, and she started to reverse, dealing with her own integrity in the process."

On Sunday night, Zille said the respected academic turned politician was playing a "game of cat and mouse" after she backed out of the agreement.

"The Democratic Alliance leadership team today met with Dr Ramphele to finalise the terms of our agreement that she stand as the DA's presidential candidate. This was to be the formalisation of the public announcement made on Tuesday last week," Zille said in a press statement on Sunday.

"At the meeting, Dr Ramphele reneged on the agreement that she stand as the DA's presidential candidate, and that Agang SA's branches, members and volunteers be incorporated into the DA. This about-turn will come as a disappointment to the many South Africans who were inspired by what could have been a historic partnership." – Additional reporting by Glynnis Underhill

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