The announcement that Agang SA leader, Dr Mamphela Ramphele, has accepted an offer from the Democratic Alliance to be its Presidential Candidate has been described as a ‘game changer’ for the effect it will have on the South African political landscape.
The announcement has also raised a number of questions about the future of her political party with many commentators arguing it was a co-option of Ramphele from the party she began during 2013.
There has also been criticism that Ramphele did not consult with the structures her party has built and that staff were not informed about her negotiations with the Democratic Alliance.
“We must be clear about a number of matters. At no point did we keep it a secret that we were prepared to talk to the Democratic Alliance, or indeed any other political party that had as its core the desire to move beyond the politics of division or race. Nor did we keep it a secret that we wanted to be a catalyst to realign the political landscape in this country,” says Ramphele.
Ramphele says, “It has always been the Agang SA position that the country and its future should come first and that leaders are called upon to act in the best interests of the country, no matter what their self-interest. This is a principle of leadership that the African National Congree has failed miserably to observe.”
According to Ramphele, the governing party has always been able to call upon the memory and legacy of President Nelson Mandela to hide its faults since many South Africans felt a vote against the ANC was a vote against the revered statesman.
“Things are different now. The ANC no longer can hide behind Madiba and has to stand on its own demerits. The fact is, the governing party is losing support from all quarters: the National Union of Metalworkers has deserted it, the National Union of Mineworkers and the ANC Youth League are pale shadows of their former selves, and even members of the party are either unhappy or want President Zuma to stand down,” she says.
“Taken together, we have a window of opportunity that has been presented to us which Agang SA and the Democratic Alliance has shown leadership in taking in the interest of the country and without putting their own interests first,” says Ramphele.
“A change of the political landscape is imminent,” she says.
“All that we at Agang SA have worked for is to bring about change for the good of the country. To the thousands of volunteers and hundred of branches across the country, our staff in Johannesburg and Cape Town, I thank you for all you have done so far. Now let’s re-double our efforts to win this election,” says Ramphele.
According to Ramphele, the core principle of Agang SA has always been to put South Africa first, and to find partnerships with business, individuals and organisations that shared the value of looking with hope towards the future.
“The question of where Agang SA goes to from here as a simple answer: our work is not yet done. We still have a country to build and a partnership to cement. All our members will remain part of that building, whether in the branches or at our offices,” says Ramphele.
“I look forward to continued discussions with members and structures across the country about the huge prospect that lies ahead of us; the opportunity that we have to remove a government that has failed the people of this country on all fronts, and replace it with the strengths that Agang SA and the Democratic Alliance together offer. I look forward to resuming the work we began a year ago, and to working with the Democratic Alliance and the technical team we have agreed to put together to iron out the details of this partnership, and ultimately to standing as the Presidential Candidate for all,” says Ramphele.