What really went wrong between the DA and Agang that lead to a breakdown of relations and an end to a potentially useful political marriage.
Take a listen to Helen Zille and Mamphela Ramphele's take on events around the failed DA-Agang project and decide for yourself.
Take a listen to Mamphela Ramphele discussing why she believes the political marriage failed...
And take a listen to Helen Zille's version of events...
What went wrong was simply conservatives within the DA. In fact, if the partnership goes ahead the DA would not be the same again, and they tried everything in the book to obstruct on what we had agreed on.— Mamphela Ramphele
Ramphela says they had agreed she would go and consult and she already had the Western Cape and Gauteng on board and was due to go to other regions.
Suddenly, on a Friday I get this SMS, urgent meeting, you've got to sign up now!— Mamphela Ramphele
She made it clear that they had agreed she first needed to consult and says the reply was 'yes but we have to get this thing done.'
I said this sounds very funny. And of course, Helen Zille goes to the Sunday papers to say 'She either signs to be a member of the DA, or else the deal is off'. She knows me well enough to know I am not the 'or else' type of person. particularly because I was not doing it for myself. I was not pushing to be the leader..it was about creating an alternative politics.— Mamphela Ramphele
Clearly, they were not ready for an alternative politics and that's why they actually obstructed the process. And so I had no choice but to say to the rest of Agang, we have got to call this off. Because we are not going to be bulldozed into a relationship where basically they wanted to decapitate Agang, take me to be their leader and leave out Agang.— Mamphela Ramphele
They were not ready for transformation.— Mamphela Ramphele
But Helen Zille has her own version of events...
Look I've always known that Mamphela isn't easy. She's a tough taskmaster and I've always known that she needs strong people to work with. If you have a thin skin or if you are easily affronted, you mustn't work with Mamphela.— Helen Zille
What I didn't know about her was that she would chop and change her position so regularly and that she wouldn't understand the implications of that for the greater political context.— Helen Zille
This made their working relationship very difficult says Zille.
Every time she came back to start things afresh, I'd go back in good faith, and then the whole thing would blow up again. And it went on for literally three and a half years.— Helen Zille
Zille says in 2011 after the democratic Alliance successful local government elections, Ramphele approached her and said she was ready to join the DA.
At that point, she was going to join just like that and we were going to relaunch the DA, re-brand the DA.— Helen Zille
Then she dropped back from that, then she came back, then she dropped back from that. Then she decided to start Agang. Then she couldn't make it viable, then she came back again...And in the end, it just blew apart.— Helen Zille