DA denies Zille is eyeing Ramphele as successor

2012-02-27 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Sources in the Democratic Alliance said yesterday that reports in the Sunday press that Helen Zille has her eye on intellectual Dr Mamphela Ramphele as her successor are unfounded speculation.

On Thursday Ramphele addressed a meeting of a DA organisation for young professionals with Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille.

De Lille thanked Ramphele for the help and advice she had given her as mayor.

Ramphele made no party political remarks in favour of the DA, but said South Africans must defend the Constitution, the cornerstone of its democracy, against attacks by the government.

The event was attended by more than 200 young professionals.

Organiser Ryno Geldenhuys, leader of the DA Youth in Cape Town Metro, said the idea of the event was to reach out to people who were not DA members and discuss issues that were important to the party.

“The events are not limited to DA members, and we invite respected speakers, who don’t belong to the DA, to debate further.

“Dr Ramphele was invited as a guest of DA Youth … because we value her strong opinions about the protection of the Constitution.”

DA leadership figures were irritated yesterday by the reports that Zille saw Ramphele as her successor.

They pointed out that Zille and Ramphele had been friends for years, that their children went to the same school and that they worked together when Ramphele was rector of the University of Cape Town and Zille its spokesperson.

There have in the past been informal attempts to persuade Ramphele to stand as a DA candidate, but she insists that she has chosen to remain outside party politics.

They also pointed out that the party leader is elected by delegates at its congress, and it is not up to Zille to appoint or anoint a successor.

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