Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele (left) hugs Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille at a news conference in Cape Town on Tuesday. Ramphele will run as presidential candidate for the DA in this year's election. Picture: Mike Hutchings

Johannesburg -

A divided political opposition does not serve the best interests of South Africa, Agang SA said on Thursday.

“We believe... that divided political parties, in particular opposition parties, don't serve the interests of South Africa,” said the party's Gauteng chairman, Andries Tlouamma.

“If the ruling party dies without meaningful opposition, the country dies with it.”

He was speaking after leader Mamphela Ramphele held a private meeting with Agang SA officials at the party's office in Johannesburg earlier on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille announced Ramphele would be the DA's presidential candidate in the general elections this year.

“Our leader (Ramphele) spoke to us and took us through, in relation to the announcement which was made at the DA press conference (on Tuesday),” said Tlouamma.

“She gave us reasons why she believed the best way to prepare an opposition party to replace the ANC was to consolidate the opposition.”

Agang SA did not want political parties in South Africa to be based on colour or race, but rather wanted a multi-racial party at the centre of South Africa.

“We agreed with her, even if the truth might be painful, if we believe in this country becoming the best. We need to confront the truth even if it is painful,” he said.

“Sometimes the best way to change people is to involve them and convince them to persuade people.”

On Wednesday, DA federal chairman Wilmot James said although Ramphele was the presidential candidate, she was not yet a DA member. He said this would be handled by a technical committee.

James said the two parties intended to merge, but had not yet done so.

“The DA and Agang SA have agreed to merge.”

The merger would happen as soon as possible, said James. - Sapa