JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's ruling party is scoffing at the merger of two opposition parties ahead of elections this year, saying the coalition's choice of presidential candidate is a "'rent a black'" ploy to present a multi-racial front to voters.
Gwede Mantashe, secretary general of the African National Congress, made the criticism Tuesday after Mamphela Ramphele, a former campaigner against white rule who was also a World Bank executive, said she would run for president. Her small Agang party has merged with the larger Democratic Alliance, whose roots lie in South Africa's tradition of white liberal opposition to apartheid.
Mantashe says Ramphele's candidacy is "what we call 'rent a black' and 'rent a leader.'"
Under the ANC banner, Nelson Mandela became president in South Africa's first all-race elections in 1994.