4 Feb 2014

Sth African party deal falls apart

5:58 am on 4 February 2014

A merger deal between the main opposition party in South Africa, the Democratic Alliance, with a smaller party in order to challenge the governing ANC has collapsed.

When the merger was announced last week, Dr Mamphela Ramphele, the leader of the Agang party, was put forward as the group's candidate for this year's presidential election.

But the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday the merger has collapsed and it accused Dr Ramphele of reneging on her pledge to stand for the presidency.

The BBC says the merged party had been billed as the strongest challenger to the ANC since it came to power in 1994. It would have been the first time the DA had fielded a black presidential candidate.

Agang is named after the Sesotho word for "Let us build". Dr Ramphele launched the party a year ago, but it has not made an impact. It is now bankrupt and a month ago was unable to pay its staff.