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'DA/Agang merger was rushed decision'

Ramphele says AgangSA still remains a viable opposition to the ANC.

FILE: Mamphela Ramphele speaks during the launch of AgangSA on 22 June 2013. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - AgangSA leader Mamphela Ramphele has admitted that she rushed into her agreement with the Democratic Alliance (DA) to be their presidential candidate for the upcoming elections.

In a bold move last week, Ramphele accepted the DA's offer to stand as its choice for the top job in government last week, but the deal is now off.

Ramphele has labelled last week's briefing as a "premature announcement" which resulted in unhappiness among both DA and Agang members.

She says that AgangSA remains a viable opposition to the ANC whom she says has failed the country and does not serve the people.

Meanwhile, the DA is expected to hold its own briefing at this hour following its short-lived deal with AgangSA.

POLITICS REQUIRES CALCULATED RISKS

Early on Monday morning, DA leader Helen Zille said politics requires calculated risks, saying her party has done its best to unite the opposition.

Zille tweeted that AgangSA's departure from the DA camp was sad for democracy and her party must now cut its losses and move on.

The Western Cape Premier also says risks in politics sometimes work and sometimes do not, but it rarely proves fatal.

Sad for democracy. The DA did its best in good faith to unite the opposition, based on a clear agreement. We must cut our losses and move on

Politics requires calculated risks. Sometimes it works. Sometimes not. Rarely fatal. We saw through duplicity quickly. Now we move on.

Big lesson this week: those who urge one most strongly to make a bold move, are the first to say afterwards: it could never have worked!

'RAMPHELE CANNOT BE TRUSTED'

Zille says Ramphele has shown she cannot be trusted to see a project through to the end.

In a statement released last night, Zille said it was rare for a political party to offer the position of presidential candidate to a leader from another party.

Zille added they believed it would be in South Africa's best interest to have her as the presidential candidate.

But during meetings with the DA's leadership to finalise the terms of the agreement, Ramphele said she was pulling out of the deal.

POLITICAL CONSEQUENCES

Political analyst Harold Pakendorf believes the break-up has dealt a harsh blow to the official opposition.

"As they go into this election they were hoping to get a vast 20 or 25 percent vote."

He says the ANC will now feel a bit more relaxed going into the elections.

Zille said the decision to pull out was a great pity and it wasn't clear what Ramphele's objective had been.

This is now going to be seen as a damaging mistake for the DA.

The ANC could claim it demonstrates how desperate the DA is to have a black person as its main symbol during the elections.

Questions will also be asked about Zille's judgement in joining forces with Ramphele in the first place.

Zille could also find her authority questioned by DA members over the next few weeks.

But Ramphele is now going to be cast as a political ego that refused to comply with agreements she had signed up to, which could spell the end for AgangSA.

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