Cape Town - 140129 - A book on Helen Suzman (Former Member of the Parliament of South Africa), written by Robin Renwick, was launched at the Mount Nelson Hotel. Pictured is Helen Zille & Mamphela Ramphele. Picture: David Ritchie

Cape Town -

DA presidential candidate Mamphela Ramphele has dismissed as agents provocateurs those AgangSA members who called for a new elective conference after she announced she was joining the DA on Tuesday.

And as DA leader Helen Zille reiterated that the realignment of politics “is not for sissies”, Ramphele is back in Gauteng on Thursday to calm troubled waters in AgangSA.

Speaking to the Cape Argus on Wednesday, Ramphele said: “We must distinguish from real AgangSA members and opportunists,” adding that she would talk to all her party structures and was confident these were on board.

Tuesday’s announcement that Ramphele would head the DA national ticket as presidential candidate, and that a technical team would oversee the merger between the two parties, has found a largely lukewarm response among citizens, party members and analysts.

But Zille told the Cape Argus on Wednesday night that waves were to be expected when political boundaries were broken.

“The realignment of politics is a difficult task. It is absolutely not for sissies,” Zille said. “We don’t break (political) boundaries without breaking some eggs,” she explained, emphasising the paradigm shift was necessary.

“We have to break the mould. The political boundaries are obsolete. “

However, it appears a long road remains ahead – Rampehele has yet to take out DA membership.

It is understood this would be one of the many issues to be resolved as the technical team was starting to get to grips with the merger.

Neither Ramphele nor Zille wanted to be drawn on deadlines for the merger.

Ramphele has been called a “rent-a-black”, “capitalist” and “traitor” in the aftermath of being named the DA’s presidential candidate.

Even unions have joined in, criticising the businesswoman and her decision to merge her party with the DA.

“(The move) is not surprising because her politics fit in perfectly with what the DA stands for,” the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union said on Wednesday.

“What motivates the party and Ramphele is to defend material interests of the established white capital, and everything they have done previously points to this undeniable fact.”

The union said Ramphele lacked any understanding of politics.

This had become clear when she disclosed her personal finances when she launched AgangSA.

“South Africans viewed that kind of exhibitionism as nothing but an indirect boast to charm the naive and unsuspecting.

“Her adventure into politics is about herself and herself alone and we think she has at last found a political home that fits in perfectly with her line of thinking in DA.”

Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said he predicted the “integration” of Agang.

“(Ramphele) has found her political home in the party of big business, exactly what we would expect from someone who was a managing director of the World Bank and chairperson of Gold Fields.”

This followed comments made by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, who told Eyewitness News on Tuesday that Ramphele was a “rent-a-black, rent-a-leader”.

Ramphele and Zille spoke at the launch of a biography on liberal stalwart Helen Suzman, Bright Star in a Dark Chamber, in Cape Town on Wednesday night.

Cape Argus