Parties divided on Ramphele’s DA move

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IOL  ct Ramphele  pic INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele

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POLITICS-AGANG-REAX

JOHANNESBURG Jan 28 Sapa

MIXED REACTION TO RAMPHELE'S DA MOVE

There was mixed reaction from opposition parties on Tuesday to the news that Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele will be the DA's presidential candidate in the general elections.

The Congress of the People welcomed the consolidation of opposition parties.

"Soon after the formation of Cope, we were right at the forefront of reorganising opposition politics to make sure that we do not work against each other, but rather with each other, especially on areas where there is clear agreement," party leader Mosiuoa Lekota said in a statement.

He said the establishment of the Collective for Democracy, where the African Christian Democratic Party, the Freedom Front Plus and the United Christian Democratic Party agreed to co-operate, took this commitment further.

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille announced on Tuesday that Ramphele would be her party's presidential candidate in the upcoming general elections.

She said talks between Agang SA and the DA had been going on "continuously".

Lekota said the merger was good for the country and would promote multi-party democracy.

The FFPlus said opposition coalitions in politics should be welcomed.

"The question is whether the merging of the DA and Agang will contribute to reducing the ANC's current dominance of South Africa's politics," party leader Pieter Mulder said in a statement.

"Dr Mamphela Ramphele has a political struggle past which gives her special credibility to recruit, especially black votes, which is out of the reach of the DA with their middle-class image."

However, he questioned whether Ramphele would be able to convince her supporters to vote for the DA.

"These voters had supported Agang exactly because they weren't prepared to support the DA."

The Christian Democratic Party said it believed the merger between Agang and DA had no merit, but that did not come as a surprise.

"The absorption of Agang in the DA was expected, especially since it became clear that Agang no longer conducted an inspired election campaign," CDP leader Theunis Botha said in a statement.

"The question now is whether the DA is once again going to make a U-turn on the racial discriminatory legislation it first supported, and then partially revoked -- Dr Mamphela Ramphele after all, supports this legislation."

Botha said the merger did not offer a solution for the country.

The National Freedom Party Youth Movement said it supported its party's decision to go into the election independently.

"SA politics is getting very interesting this days. Last week IFP married EFF, today DA swallowed Agang," national secretary Maria Busisiwe Tshabalala said in a statement.

"As the NFPYM we believe electorates should vote for NFP because these partnerships which are in politics these days seem 1/8to be 3/8 for career purposes. "

Sapa

/gq/hdw/cls/ks 01/28/14 17-12



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