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Confusion over Ramphele joining DA

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Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele and DA leader Helen Zille at the press conference to announce their political agreement. Picture: Michael Walker

Johannesburg - Confusion arose on Friday over Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele's joining the Democratic Alliance.

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

The DA and Agang SA would next week formalise the integration of the two parties following Ramphele's decision to stand as the official opposition's presidential candidate in this year's general elections.

However, following the joint statement being 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.”

Ramphele said the commitment she had made to Agang SA members in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Western Cape, stood.

“And I will continue to speak with all of our structures,” she said.

Agang SA said on Friday, after the joint statement was issued, that the claim Ramphele would be joining the DA next week was premature.

“In fact, Dr Ramphele is on record as saying that she remains the leader of Agang SA, and that she will continue to campaign for the party,” it said in a statement.

A technical committee first had to find ways for both parties to use their strengths to provide a government-in-waiting for South Africa.

DA federal chairman Wilmot James said Ramphele agreed to the joint statement.

“I was in a meeting this (Friday) morning with Dr Ramphele and we agreed on a statement and then issued that statement. We are not quite sure why Dr Ramphele responded in the way she did,” he said.

“There is no question whatsoever that the statement issued was in fact jointly agreed to.”

James said that he did not believe anything was really amiss.

“I think it is just a misunderstanding and miscommunication on their part. Our commitment and resolve to see this initiative through continues.”

Andrew Gasnolar, listed as Ramphele's contact person on the joint statement, could not be reached for comment.

A year after launching Agang SA, Ramphele announced on Tuesday that she would front the DA's 2014 election campaign in a bid to change the country's political landscape and end race-based politics.

Zille conceded that the decision had not been canvassed with the parties' grassroots structures.

Sapa


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