Details weren't ironed out - Ramphele

2014-02-03 15:31
Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele smiles at a media conference where she was announced as the DA's presidential candidate. (Rodger Bosch, AFP)

Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele smiles at a media conference where she was announced as the DA's presidential candidate. (Rodger Bosch, AFP)

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Johannesburg - A partnership between the DA and Agang SA fell apart because the details were not ironed out, Mamphela Ramphele said on Monday.

"What we have run into are difficulties of not having given the technical committee that we announced last Tuesday the time to work out the details," she told reporters in Johannesburg.

"It becomes difficult when you still have to consult with your members, which I had in fact committed to."

Making a firm commitment to the Democratic Alliance would have been seen as being disrespectful to Agang members.

Ramphele pointed out that Agang's interim constitution prohibited dual political party membership and that a merger with another party could only be done through a national congress or if the national leadership council met with 20 members in good standing to discuss the decision.

Last week, DA leader Helen Zille, flanked by Ramphele, announced that the Agang founder would be the DA's presidential candidate in this year's elections and that there were plans to merge the two parties.

However, confusion arose on Friday over Ramphele's joining the DA.

According to a joint statement issued by Ramphele and Zille on Friday, Ramphele would be welcomed into the DA at a press conference in Johannesburg on Monday.

New way of thinking

After it was issued, a message from Ramphele was uploaded onto Agang SA's website.

"You may have by now seen 'joint' statements issued by the Democratic Alliance in which it is claimed that I will be accepting DA membership on Monday," she said.

"This is not true. Nor did I agree to any such statement. It is Agang SA's position that the technical committee must first complete its work. I am leader of Agang SA, and Agang SA will continue its work to restore the promise of our freedom."

The DA announced on Sunday evening that Ramphele had reneged on the agreement to be the presidential candidate.

Ramphele on Monday apologised for the unhappiness caused by her decision not to stand as the DA's presidential candidate, but said she made the right decision.

"I believed that we had the opportunity to transcend party politics and engage South Africans in a conversation about the future," she said.

"The last week has demonstrated that, for some, this new way of thinking about our future will be hard to achieve right now."

Ramphele said some people were not able to transcend party politics and the time for a partnership with the DA was not right.

"Some [people] cannot or will not transcend party politics. We see people trapped in old-style race-based politics."

Change in the political landscape

Although the DA remained an important party, both parties had made a mistake by believing that what so many people distrusted could magically disappear, she said.

Agang SA was formed to work towards a change in the political landscape, to offer people something other than the status quo.

"If I now have to be a DA member to see that dream and vision realised, then I unfortunately cannot pursue the DA offer," she said.

"There are millions of South Africans who will never vote for the DA, but they want a home, which Agang SA will give them."

Ramphele said the decision to accept nomination to be the DA's presidential candidate was a rushed one.

However, she did not believe the decision had hurt her credibility.

- SAPA
Read more on:    agang sa  |  da  |  helen zille  |  mamphela ramphele  |  politics  |  elections 2014
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