Zille: DA to rally behind Ramphele

The AgangSA leader was given the number one spot in the Democratic Alliance’s list for Parliament.

Politician Mamphela Ramphele. Picture: SAPA.

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) will do all it can to get Mamphela Ramphele to the Union Buildings, party leader Helen Zille said on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, the official opposition announced it had given the AgangSA leader the number one spot in its party list for Parliament.

Ramphele launched AgangSA 10 months ago.

But the party ran into problems, losing senior staff and experiencing a cash crunch.

Ramphele says millions of South Africans are ready for change.

Zille says the party wants Ramphele's face on its national ballot paper.

"We're going whatever we possibly can to get Mamphela to the Union Buildings. It's up to the voters."

In 2012, Ramphele rejected a previous offer to become DA party leader.

She did not answer directly when asked whether her decision was partly motivated by the collapse of her own party.

Ramphele also denied keeping her supporters, staff and volunteers in the dark.

"AgangSA and the DA have been in conversations and this has been public knowledge."

She says she accepted the DA's offer because millions of South Africans are ready to vote across the colour line for change.

Meanwhile, several political party leaders are this afternoon digesting the news of Ramphele's decision to merge her party with the DA.

Congress of the People (Cope) leader Mosiuoa Lekota says Ramphele should have thought far more carefully about starting a political party.

"It's been literally a number of months. To just abandon it must send a negative message to the electorate."

A joint technical team will be working on the details of integrating the DA and Agang structures.

Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder had some concerns about the merger.

"In the case of the Independent Democrats (ID), they just disappeared into the DA and the DA is still the same."

The ID will disband as a separate political organisation this year.