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Thu Dec 18 23:40:34 SAST 2014

Political parties cautious over Ramphele announcement

Sapa | 18 February, 2013 12:45
Mamphela Ramphele Pic: Kevin Sutherland.
Image by: Kevin Sutherland / Sunday Times.

Political parties reacted cautiously to Mamphela Ramphele's announcement that she had formed a "party political platform".

"The Democratic Alliance takes note of Dr Mamphela Ramphele's announcement today that she intends to engage South Africans about the formation of a new political party in the coming months," said Mmusi Maimane, spokesman for the official opposition in Parliament.

"Dr Ramphele shares the DA's core values of non-racialism and constitutionalism, and her move is another step in the long process of realigning South African politics around these values," he said.

"Helen Zille has been actively working on realigning politics since she was elected leader of the DA in 2007, with the aim of building a new majority at the centre of South African politics. We will continue to engage with Dr Ramphele in the coming months," Maimane said.

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa welcomed Ramphele's decision.

"We look forward to working with Dr Ramphele in our efforts to build a strong political alternative for the people of South Africa."

After weeks of speculation that she was planning to form a political party, Ramphele made her announcement at the old Women's Gaol, at Constitution Hill, in Braamfontein.

"Today, I announce that I am working with a group of fellow citizens to form a party political platform that will focus on rekindling hope that building the country of our dreams is possible in our lifetime," she said.

"We launch this initiative under the name Agang, or in the Nguni languages of our country, Akhani, which can be interpreted in English as 'Build South Africa'," she said.

One of its aims would be to "declare war on corruption".

It was reported last year that Ramphele had turned down an invitation to join the DA.

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