South Africa’s Newest Political Party Rejects Merger

South Africa’s newest political party, Agang SA, has rejected a merger with the largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, before next year’s election, its leader Mamphele Ramphele said.

DA head Helen Zille “and I disagreed on the need for a new party and will contest the 2014 national elections as separate,” Ramphele told reporters in Johannesburg today.

Ramphele, 65, left her position as chairwoman of Gold Fields Ltd. (GFI) in February to enter politics and challenge the ruling African National Congress. Agang SA, which means “Build South Africa,” will receive its registration certificate this week and be officially launched on June 22, she said.

The ANC’s relationship with the National Union of Mineworkers is fueling tension in the mining industry because of the perceived bias the government has toward the labor group, Ramphele said. NUM is an affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, an ally of the ANC.

“What is worse is that the office of NUM double-up as ANC offices at the mines,” she said. “That is a violation of good governance.” Ramphele said she would have spoken out against that if she was aware of the practice while at Gold Fields.

The mining industry has been wracked by violent strikes since last year, fueled by rivalry between NUM and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union. Stoppages last year cut output by about 15 billion rand ($1.5 billion), according to the National Treasury.

The ANC won almost two-thirds of the vote in the last national elections in 2009, with the DA gaining 17 percent. The ruling party draws most of its support from black voters loyal to it because of its fight against apartheid.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amogelang Mbatha in Johannesburg at ambatha@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gordon Bell at gbell16@bloomberg.net

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