The country waited with bated breath regarding the announcement of Mamphela Ramphele’s decision on her political future at Constitutional Hill, Johannesburg. This, after she recently resigned as chairwoman of Gold Fields Mining.
Ramphele confirmed suspicions that she would be launching a new political organisation on Monday when she announced the formation of a “party political platform” named “Agang”, which in seSotho means “to build”.
Ramphele’s speech was fiercely critical of the state of governance in South Africa, and began with a rousing introduction.
Fellow South African citizens, I’m here today to invite you to join me on a journey to build the country of our dreams.
Let us cast our minds back to the run up to 1994, and the moments immediately following the dawn of our freedom. Do you remember the patience and quiet dignity as we waited in the long queues to cast our first vote? Do you remeber how you choked with emotion and goosebumps as you cast your first cross on the ballot?
She continued by quoting Nelson Mandela’s innaugural presidential speech, stating:
Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity’s belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all.
All this we owe both to ourselves and to the peoples of the world who are so well represented here today.
The money shot came a few minutes into the speech, with Ramphele stating:
I’m hear to invite both young and old to re-imagine the country of our dreams. Today I announce that I am working with a group of South Africans to form a party political platform. We launch this initiative under the seSotho name, Agang, which means “to build”.
Agang’s website indicates that while Agang itself may not yet be a political party itself, that is most certainly the aim.
I am consulting widely with fellow South Africans on forming a party political platform with a view to contesting the 2014 elections.
Ramphele previously thwarted the DA’s invitation to join their party, stating:
Even if she was to establish a new platform for dialogue with the hope of consolidating the smaller political parties, it would not be a new thing … we are masters of political alliances and realignments from the days of the United Party of Helen Suzman in 1953 to the Progressive Party in 1959 to the DA in 2000.
The Democratic Alliance is currently regarded as the only serious opposition to the ANC’s political hegemony.
For a full account of her criticisms, and commitments, read her full speech, below.
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