DA slams ‘backtracking’ Ramphele

Helen Zille says her party cannot in good conscience allow Ramphele to be president on a DA ticket.

DA leader Helen Zille at a press conference in Rosebank on 3 February 2014. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille on Monday said her party cannot in good conscience say that Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele should be the president of the country if the opposition party wins the elections.

In a statement released on Sunday, the DA revealed Ramphele would no longer be their presidential candidate after reneging on her decision.

This came only days after last week's bold move where Ramphele and Zille said their parties would join forces ahead of elections.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday to discuss the split, Zille said sometimes mergers do work out.

She made reference to the merger between the DA and Independent Democrats in 2010.

Zille said sometime coalitions didn't work out.

Ramphele maintains the DA rushed her into making a choice.

But the DA has accused her of backtracking.

Zille admits her party made a mistake by inviting her in the first place.

Questions are now being raised about whether this will have an impact on voters' confidence in the opposition, with only a few months to go before South Africans cast their ballots.

DA Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko says she's disappointed.

"Had this been a successful merger, it would have been one of those great and important steps towards consolidating the DA's position as the non-racial party, which it is, and bring us closer to that goal of becoming the next national government of South Africa."

At the same conference, Zille took the opportunity to attack President Jacob Zuma.

"South Africa is in a race against time. We are having the truly ghastly spectacle of seeing our constitutional institutions eroded. The National Prosecuting Authority has become an extension of President Zuma and his insider clique - terrible for a country that is trying to uphold the rule of law."