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 -

Agang SA had been a “stillborn” party, African National Congress secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday, when Agang's leader, Mamphela Ramphele, announced she was throwing her lot in with the DA.

“I was listening today of the announcement of a stillborn,” Mantashe said in an address to the Black Business Council in Johannesburg.

During the announcement of the merger of Agang and the Democratic Alliance, former president Nelson Mandela had been used as an example of someone who took decisions, often against the opinions of his colleagues.

“Everybody talked about Mandela. They didn't talk about their leader, but they talked about (the) ANC... You cannot separate Mandela from the ANC,” Mantashe said.

Speaking to EyeWitness News earlier on Tuesday, Mantashe said the Democratic Alliance was renting a leader in Ramphele, whom the opposition party has announced as its candidate for president.

“Two things: It is a report of another stillborn party. It is dead before it was born, called Agang... Number two, it is rent-a-black, rent-a-leader. We can't be concerned about that,” he said.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said Ramphele's acceptance of the DA's invitation had proved it right about Agang SA's prospects when the party was formed.

“When Mamphela Ramphele launched her new 'party political platform' on February 18, 2013, the headline of Cosatu's response was spot on: 'Cosatu sees no future for Agang',” spokesman Patrick Craven said in a statement.

“Just how right we were was proved today, less than a year later.”

Craven said Ramphele had found her true political home, as the DA was the party of big business.

This was exactly what Cosatu expected of a person who was the former managing director of the World Bank and chairwoman of Gold Fields.

“DA leader Helen Zille says that there was 'no better person' than Ramphele to lead their election bid, but very few ANC voters will be fooled by this move,” he said.

“The DA's policies remain just as bankrupt, including lowering entry-level wages for young workers, weakening the laws which protect workers' rights and attacking the trade union movement.” - Sapa