Trollip: Why I didn’t back Zille on Ramphele

2014-02-09 06:00

The DA’s Eastern Cape leader, Athol Trollip, says he voted against Mamphela Ramphele as the party’s presidential candidate because she “had very little to offer our party”.

He has also described the Agang SA leader as politically naïve, deceitful and duplicitous.

Trollip told City Press: “I never speak of what happens in the federal executive. I respect my party too much to do that. But somebody in our federal executive saw it fit to leak how I had voted. Once they had done that I felt there was no reason for me to disguise my feelings.

“I did not support the Helen Zille initiative. I believe her offer [to Ramphele] was authentic – she has been on record since 2007 that she wants to lead realignment. That’s fine.

“But I don’t have to follow suit. We are a democratic organisation and I have a right to express my opinion through a vote. I thought Mamphela Ramphele had very little to offer our party.

“We did not know what Agang is. We don’t know how many voters they potentially have or don’t.

“I don’t believe people like Ramphele add any value ... I will support people on merit, not just simply because they happen to have a black face.”

According to him, the DA had enough black leaders of its own to take the party forward.

“I have somewhat been vindicated in my vote against her because I saw little she could offer.”

He said the DA hadn’t come out of the deal too badly.

“The public will see this as an authentic endeavour to bring opposition parties together in order to create an alternative to the ANC. I don’t believe we would be dented at all. In fact, to the contrary, the DA has come out of this well. That has come out of good fortune and not good management.”

The DA’s federal council will meet next weekend, partly to decide who will be the party’s presidential candidate.

Three DA leaders from provincial and national structures told City Press that Zille would be grilled about why she pushed to get Ramphele on board without consulting the party.

“Quite a lot of people are upset. As much as Mamphela hadn’t informed her structures, Zille hadn’t informed ours,” a member of the federal executive council said.

“A lot of the leadership of the party will want answers on why the decision was rushed. It has confused a lot of our grass-roots [structures],” the leader said.

Another leader from Gauteng said it was unlikely that Zille would be asked to resign before the elections because this would disrupt the elections campaign, but it was possible she would be replaced next year when the party goes to its federal congress.

Meanwhile, party leaders have been trying to establish who leaked information two weeks ago about the federal executive meeting where Ramphele’s candidature and that of former prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach was discussed.

A federal executive member described it as a “witch-hunt”. “People are asking questions, it is quite tense that way. The leadership is quite tense at a national level.”

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