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Leaders address fallout from messy split - South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa - The leaders of two of South Africa’s most influential political parties on Monday moved to contain the fallout from their decision not to merge ahead of this year’s national elections.

Helen Zille, the leader of the official opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), had slammed Agang South Africa leader Mamphela Ramphele for failing to honour her agreement to run as the DA’s presidential candidate.

She said the attempted merger was “a genuine and good faith attempt to bring together a strong and united opposition force that could build a new future for South Africa."

Just a week ago, Ramphele pledged that she would lead South Africa “to a place where black and white, rich and poor, rural and urban, young and old, men and women, will come together at last”. 

Ramphele, who is a former anti-apartheid activist and medical doctor, was the life partner of Steve Biko, with whom she had two children. 

A year ago, she announced the formation of a new political party, named Agang (the Sotho word for "Build").

On Monday, Ramphele apologised for her decision not to stand as the DA's presidential candidate, but said she had made the right decision.

"I believed that we had the opportunity to transcend party politics and engage South Africans in a conversation about the future," she told reporters.

Pana 03/02/2014