Democratic Alliance (Cape Town)

2 February 2014

South Africa: Ramphele's Reneging On Agreement Is a Sad Day for Democracy

press release

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.

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.

It is rare indeed for a political party to offer the position of presidential candidate to a leader from another party, but we believed this move would be in the best interests of South Africa. People are looking for a strong and united alternative to Jacob Zuma's ANC, and we felt that Dr Ramphele would help us speed up the realignment of politics. Constitutionally, she could only go to Parliament as the DA's Presidential Candidate if she is a member of the DA.

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.

By going back on the deal, again, just five days after it was announced, Dr Ramphele has demonstrated - once and for all - that she cannot be trusted to see any project through to its conclusion. This is a great pity.

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.

The DA will nevertheless continue with its historic mission to build a non-racial political alternative in South Africa. We have the values, we have the structures, we have the machinery and we have the depth of leadership to succeed.

Helen Zille, Leader of the Democratic Alliance

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