DA leader Helen Zille announced that Agang SA’s Mamphela Ramphele will be the DA’s presidential candidate in the general elections, hoping to lure ANC voters away from the governing party.
“Good people in the ANC have reached out to us but are scared. Good business leaders have reached out to us but are nervous,” Ramphele told reporters during the announcement of the merger.
The merger will not change the DA’s fortunes however, as Ramphele lacks a constituency and no ANC history because she has never been a member.
Agang was a non-starter, one analyst said, as Ramphele’s appeal lay with people who were already supporting the DA and she was unlikely to lure away ANC voters.
Ramphele promised to consign race, the main staple of South African politics, to the dustbin on Tuesday.
“We are taking away that race card and putting it in the dustbin,” Ramphele said.
“This is a historic moment. We are going to take away the excuse of race and challenge the ANC to be judged on its performance.
Ramphele has previously shown a disregard for sound analysis.
The ex-World Bank employee who is best known as the girlfriend of a dead Black Consciousness activist, the late Steve Biko, launched Agang SA after initially rejecting an offer of replacing Zille as DA leader.
Instead she blew millions on her own party despite surveys predicting very limited support for the venture.
She said she was “honoured” to accept the DA’s invitation to join, saying: “I believe that this decision is in the best interests of South Africa as we head into turbulent waters.”