DR MAMPHELA Ramphele on Monday (18/02/2013) announced the formation of a "party political platform” whose first order of business would be to call for reform of South Africa’s electoral system.
Speculation has been rife for weeks that the activist and doctor — a former MD of the World Bank — would enter the country’s political space through forming her own political party.
On Monday‚ she delivered a hard-hitting speech on how the dream of a democratic South Africa had been derailed by poor governance‚ corruption‚ nepotism‚ poverty and powerlessness.
"Our country is at risk because self-interest has become the driver of many of those in positions of authority who should be focused on serving the public‚” she said.
The platform — to be called "Agang” in Sesotho‚ meaning "Build SA” — will embark on a 1-million-signature campaign to ensure that electoral reform is the "first order of business” for Parliament after the 2014 election.
"I’m here today to invite you‚ young and old‚ to reimagine the country of our dreams‚” Dr Ramphele said at the historic Women’s Gaol at Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg.
She said South Africans were being denied the right to govern by the current electoral system‚ and bemoaned the deployment of people to government by parties and the impact of being beholden to party leaders on their performance.
The new party political platform would give citizens who have stood on the sidelines an opportunity to become actively involved in building a South Africa to be proud of‚ Ms Ramphele said.
News of Dr Ramphele’s political plans have created a buzz in opposition circles. While the Democratic Alliance (DA) has adopted a "wait and see” approach‚ at least in its public stance‚ other smaller parties such as the Congress of the People (COPE) can be expected to seize the opportunity of jumping on the bandwagon.
COPE leaders have said they are mulling ways to work with Dr Ramphele’s party.
While this could give her initiative a boost‚ it could also raise credibility questions‚ as COPE has battled with internal squabbles that have all but eroded its credibility. © BDlive 2013 With Sam Mkokeli