DA and Agang in talks – again

2014-01-26 14:00

Agang leader Mamphela Ramphele has again been in secret talks with the DA about possible cooperation between the two parties.

Ramphele isn’t listed as one of the party’s seven “confidential candidates” who will go to Parliament or provincial legislatures for the party, but it is understood that the cooperation between the parties could happen after the elections.

The lists were announced by DA leader Helen Zille in Johannesburg yesterday.

Although Agang spokesperson Thabo Leshilo said claims of fresh talks were “ridiculous”, a senior DA member said the cooperation between the parties could involve the DA supporting Ramphele as presidential candidate when these are nominated and elected in Parliament after the elections.

Zille in 2012 tried to convince Ramphele to join the DA, but she launched her own party instead in February last year.

Another source close to a DA leader said Ramphele could be “parachuted” into the DA party leadership the same way that Independent Democrats (ID) leader Patricia de Lille had been in 2010, after plans of a merger between the DA and ID were announced.

The ID and the DA had been holding joint caucus meetings since the announcement, and the ID will formally cease to exist after the upcoming general elections. Its MPs, including Lance Greyling and Joe McGluwa, have been absorbed into the DA’s elections lists.

Current speculation is that Agang could cooperate with the DA in a similar way. A plan like this could also help bail Agang out of its financial troubles after donor money reportedly started drying up.

Meanwhile, the beleaguered Congress of the People (Cope) is also set to lose some of its parliamentarians to the DA.

A senior source inside the party said at least “two or three” of the “confidential candidates” were from Cope. Others were from “civil service”.

Their names could not be revealed because they were “still in a different political party or organisation”, Zille said yesterday.

Their names will be revealed as soon as they have made a decision on whether they want to be on the party’s list and whether they think they will be elected.

The list approved by the party’s federal executive committee on Friday and announced by Zille yesterday featured no significant political defections.

Ricardo Mackenzie, Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula’s personal assistant, was the most significant “defector” listed among the candidates.

Some DA staff members also made it up high on the party’s list.

Zille’s spokesperson in her Western Cape premier’s office, Zak Mbhele, is number five on the Western Cape list. DA parliamentary researcher Phumzile van Damme is placed seventh and communications director Gavin Davis ninth.

The DA is expected to reveal its manifesto in March.

Another major event planned for the run-up to the elections is a march on the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters in central Johannesburg, but Zille yesterday said the party was still waiting for permission from the Johannesburg Metro Police

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