Zille lays into Ramphele after break-up


Helen Zille (R), leader of the South African opposition party Democratic Alliance (DA), smiles at a press conference on January 28, 2014, at a hotel in Cape Town, where Mamphela Ramphele (L), was anounced as the DA presidential candidate.

Johannesburg - Leader of the Democratic Alliance Helen Zille has called Mamphela Ramphele&39;s decision not to stand as the DA&39;s Presidential Candidate a "sad day for democracy".

In a statement released on the party&39;s website on Sunday, Zille said the DA met with Ramphele to formalise what had been announced at a press conference on Tuesday.

"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."

Over the weekend the DA said they would seek clarity from Ramphele on whether she was prepared to abide by their agreement and fully join the party.

Zille said at the time that the union was a "game-changing moment for South Africa." But AgangSA said on the same occassion that the claim Ramphele would be joining the DA next week was premature.

"In fact, Dr Ramphele is on record as saying that she remains the leader of AgangSA, and that she will continue to campaign for the party," the party said in a statement.

On Sunday, Zille said: "The DA negotiated with Dr Ramphele in good faith. Indeed she is a long-time personal friend of mine and I sought to bring her into politics over many years. We have been through many false starts, but when Dr Ramphele insisted on Monday that we go public on Tuesday to announce her acceptance of our offer of the DA’s presidential candidacy, we accepted that she had finally made up her mind."

"Since Tuesday’s announcement, Dr Ramphele has been playing a game of cat and mouse – telling the media one thing, Agang supporters another thing, and the DA another.  It is not clear what her objective is, but whatever it is, it is not in the interests of the South African people."

According to Zille, Ramphele could only go to Parliament as the DA’s presidential candidate if she was a member of the DA.

The party said they would hold a media briefing on Monday to address the issue in open.