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Sun Dec 21 23:30:05 SAST 2014

Ramphele to reveal her cards

Staff reporter | 18 February, 2013 00:2552 Comments
Mamphela Ramphele
Image by: Financial Mail/Robert Tshabalala / Gallo Images

Activist and campaigner for human rights Mamphela Ramphele is to announce today whether she is about to enter party politics.

The announcement will take place at the Women's Gaol at the Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, a building steeped in political resistance.

According to her publicists, at 11am Ramphele will make her statement regarding her political plans to media and invited guests.

While opposition parties have taken a measured approach to her intentions, today's decisions might be the start of the end for some.

Yesterday, the Sunday Times reported a breakdown in talks between the former UCT vice-chancellor and the DA over whether she should join the main opposition or a new party should be started.

DA insiders were quoted in the Sunday Times as saying Ramphele wanted the party to be dissolved, and replaced by a "new" party, but this was opposed by senior party leaders.

On the weekend, DA leader Helen Zille would not express an opinion on Ramphele's political ambitions.

At an SA National Editors Forum meeting in Cape Town on Saturday, the SABC reported Zille as saying Ramphele would not automatically be a leader if she decided to join the DA, and would have to go through the party's processes.

"Mamphele and I have raised children together, we've known each other for a long time, we chat often and so obviously I know quite a lot, but I just don't like to speak for other people.

"We often agree on things, we sometimes disagree on our approach to things, but we've remained good friends.

"I know if we went to a congress she would be elected to very high office on the basis of her record and her capacity, as well as her sharpness and analytical ability and those things," says Zille.

Ramphele resigned as the chairman of Gold Fields last week.

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