National DA spokesman Mmusi Maimane has dismissed Julius Malema and Mamphela Ramphele’s parties as non-starters in the race for control of Gauteng.
He claims the contest ahead of next year’s elections is a two-way one between his party and the ANC.
Maimane says Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party and Ramphele’s Agang SA are not real contenders for power in the country’s economic hub.
He made the claims while welcoming three Cope members into the official opposition’s fold in Joburg on Tuesday.
“We are not opposed to the realignment of opposition parties, but as for Agang and EFF, they will have to work very hard to make an impact in this province. They must do their work. We will only work with them and other parties in Gauteng to prevent election rigging,” Maimane said.
He said the new parties needed good infrastructure and programmes to make a dent in next year’s elections, adding his party had a 60-year-old infrastructure.
Ironically, Malema recently ruled out working with the DA, saying it defended white privilege. Ramphele has rejected a mooted coalition with the DA, saying the official opposition was in denial about the effects of apartheid.
The new DA members from Cope are the party’s former women’s movement national general secretary Nozipho Didiza-Ndlela, former Gauteng deputy secretary Norman Mohale and ex-West Rand regional secretary Vulindlela Xundu. The trio declined to comment on their reasons for ditching Cope.
They all supported expelled Cope deputy president Mbhazima Shilowa’s faction in the embattled party.
Shilowa and his rival, Cope president Mosiuoa Lekota, are involved in a bitter court battle.
The party was formed by disgruntled ANC members after President Jacob Zuma defeated Thabo Mbeki as ANC leader at Polokwane in 2007.
Cope Gauteng legislature caucus leader Ndzipho Kalipa blamed the defections on Shilowa and Lekota’s rivalry.
“It is unfortunate that at a time while we are expecting a ruling on the leadership battle, some people chose to quit Cope and join the DA. I think Shilowa and Lekota must take full responsibility for this. Their factional battles are affecting our efforts to chart the way forward,” Kalipa said.
Lekota’s spokesman, Johan Abrie, said Cope would not miss the trio because they were factional.
“As a party we hold as sacrosanct the constitutional right of all South Africans to exercise their freedom of association without fear. It is in this light that we wish all those former members… all the best in their new political home.”