A WAR of words erupted between the Democratic Alliance’s Athol Trollip and Agang-SA’s Mamphela Ramphele over the marriage of the two parties which lasted a mere 24 hours.
The drama unfolded on Wednesday night when four of the political parties contesting the May 7 elections – DA, Agang-SA, the United Democratic Movement and the Economic Freedom Fighters – were grilled at a packed Christian Centre Hall in East London.
The four were participating in the “great election debate” hosted by the Daily Dispatch and Fort Hare University.
The confrontation between the two was sparked by a question from the floor on why Ramphele had pulled out of the coalition which had seen her being announced as to lead the DA election campaign.
Trollip said: “Yes our relationship with Agang was short-lived. We offered the presidency to Dr Mamphela Ramphele. She accepted it. But she wouldn’t be a member of our party. So we said if you can’t be a member you can’t be our presidential candidate. Simple.”[pullquote]“Something has gone wrong in the political culture in the ANC which has poisoned South Africa into devaluing education.”[/pullquote]
But Ramphele came out guns blazing, accusing the DA of refusing to accept her terms.
“In a marriage relationship there are negotiations. On the day of the negotiations Athol said they had offered me the presidency, but I had to be a member of their party.
“We cannot talk about partnership, unity in diversity by saying ‘come and join us’. That person has got something to offer.
“I pleaded with the DA to think about the future of the country and to put the country first. Theirs can’t be the only standards by which all political parties are judged. They have got much to learn,” said Ramphele.
EFF’s Dali Mpofu joined the debate and slammed the DA saying it was an alliance between the Democratic Party and defunct National Party aimed at preserving white privilege.
But it was the ruling party which was at the receiving end of most of the criticism.
The ANC had been invited to participate, but provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane rejected the offer, saying they would join another dialogue but, “not this time around”.
UDM’s Bantu Holomisa recommended that ANC President Jacob Zuma be replaced as the face of the party.
Holomisa said: “The best way for the ANC is to withdraw Zuma in the same manner they did [Thabo] Mbeki.”
His advice to the ANC was: “If somebody is involved [in corruption], irrespective of his or her social standing, that individual must obey the law. Your fate will be decided by the courts not the party.”
Ramphele: “The sad thing about South Africa today is precisely because the ANC has undervalued education by choosing the kind of president we have.
“People are educated, [and] it’s become a problem. I am indeed very educated because my parents invested in education and understood that education is the key to the future of this country. If you look at the good leaders within the ANC, they were all educated, and the ANC was never accused of being an elitist party.
“Something has gone wrong in the political culture in the ANC which has poisoned South Africa into devaluing education.”
Mpofu said the EFF had not been born out of lawlessness. The ANCYL had been dissolved because it wanted the nationalisation of mines and expropriation of land without compensation.
Mpofu said Julius Malema and other former ANCYL leaders had been expelled for speaking the truth on Botswana, and Mbeki being better than Zuma.
Trollip described the Mandela funeral taxi scandal as a “disgusting feeding frenzy” for those connected to the ANC.
A power outage also delayed the start of the debate. —firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com