COBUS COETZEE, LEBOGANG SEALE, BABALO NDENZE and PIET RAMPEDI
Under siege and battling to quell an internal revolt, AgangSA leader Mamphela Ramphele made a U-turn on Sunday night and dumped the DA.
A disappointed DA leader Helen Zille confirmed the about-turn, which comes five days after the two had reached a “game-changer deal”.
Zille describing it as a “sad day for democracy”.
In a late-night statement, she said Ramphele’s “cat and mouse” games since the deal was revealed on Tuesday was proof she could not be trusted.
Ramphele broke the news to the DA leadership at a meeting in Joburg on Sunday night.
“At the meeting, Dr Ramphele reneged on the agreement that she stand as the DA’s presidential candidate, and that AgangSA’s branches, members and volunteers be incorporated into the DA.
“This about-turn will come as a disappointment to the many South Africans who were inspired by what could have been a historic partnership,” Zille said.
“By going back on the deal, again… Dr Ramphele has demonstrated – once and for all – she cannot be trusted to see any project through to its conclusion. This is a great pity.”
Insisting that the DA had negotiated with Ramphele in good faith, Zille added: “Since Tuesday’s announcement, Dr Ramphele has been playing a game of cat and mouse – telling the media one thing, Agang supporters another thing, and the DA another.
“It is not clear what her objective is, but whatever it is, it is not in the interests of the South African people.”
This came after Ramphele had embarrassed the DA by releasing a statement vowing never to join the same party for which she was a presidential candidate.
By Sunday, pressure had mounted on Ramphele, with Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi and senior tripartite alliance leaders mocking and calling her names, saying she was a “black token figure-head” who betrayed the ideas of her late partner, Steve Biko.
DA federal council member and MP Masizole Mnqasela said ahead of the meeting between Zille and Ramphele that conflicting public statements made by both leaders were part of the problem and made people “more anxious”.
“The less things people say through the media, that will help us a lot,” he added.
Political analyst Professor Susan Booysen said on Sunday Ramphele’s failure to make up her mind had not only done serious damage to the DA, but also damaged her own credibility.
“The amount of embarrassment she has caused to the DA is quite astonishing. Mamphela is living in two worlds and she can’t get herself to choose from them.
“She has already done political suicide big time in the last few days. The DA can’t even trust her.”
On Friday, Western Cape Agang members joined other party rebels by questioning their founder’s judgment capacity at a meeting in Langa, Cape Town.
Gauteng ANC chairman Paul Mashatile described the DA as a “confused party” which was “already defeated. They (DA) don’t know who their president is. (Yet) they think they can defeat the ANC. They are already defeated.”
The DA and Agang SA are expected to hold separate press conference in Johannesburg on Monday.