….and Agang SA along with her? No. No, Agang SA is sticking round.
Earlier today, founder and presumed leader of Agang SA – South Africa’s 11th biggest party – Dr Mamphela Ramphele, released a statement revealing that she would be leaving party politics to focus on civil society projects with immediate effect. “I have decided to leave party politics and return to working alongside my fellow citizens in civil society to pursue the dream of transforming ours into a more just and prosperous society,” she claims in the statement.
In what is largely an unsurprising move, Ramphele brings to an end a short party political career that saw her establish Agang SA in June 2013 and quickly rise as what many had hoped (and believed) would be a credible alternative to the ANC for the black voter. A respected academic and struggle icon in her own right, Ramphele’s credible image – hinged on her symbolism of “black excellence” peppered with struggle attributes – was struck a dealing blow when in February, she sat next to DA leaders Helen Zille and Mmusi Maimane in Cape Town to proclaim that she would stand as the Democratic Alliance’s presidential candidate in the 2014 elections. In what will be remembered as the snafu that reduced any and all of her political clout to zilch, her ensuing failure as a party politician, which has played out over the past six months, wasn’t because of her weird fling with the Democratic Alliance, but because she appeared indecisive, easily-swayed and unintelligent throughout the entire episode; the anti-thesis of what made her appear a capable leader to many.
“I will therefore be leaving party politics, having accomplished my aim of creating a political vehicle to enable those who remain outside the political mainstream to have a voice,” Ramphele later continues in her statement. She leaves Agang SA in a cloud of dust and uncertainty, following rumours in recent weeks of her suspension from the party by members who blame her for the party’s implosion.
She later concludes that “I remain convinced that working more intensely with young people and women, who are the majority populations, will yield the best outcomes for our beloved country.” It remains unclear where Ramphele will continue her career, which has spanned being in the Black Consciousness Movement alongside Steve Biko, being the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, a managing director of the World Bank and sitting on the boards of many South African companies. One thing for certain – it won’t be on the single seat that Agang SA holds in parliament.
Follow The Daily Molefi writer and VIP Campaign Editor Lee Molefi on Twitter
The #2014Elections have set an exciting and vibrant context for the future of South Africa politics to unfold upon. What happens now that you’ve voted? How do we gauge whether we’re “moving the country forward”, whether we’re “bringing change” or “economic freedom in our lifetime”? Stick with #LiveVIPZA and we’ll give you analysis, debates, comments, polls and all YOU need to understand, enjoy and interact with SA politics.