The current government is setting an bad example, Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele said on Saturday.
“One by one they have systematically attacked the very foundations of our constitutional democracy, the judicial system, the freedom of the press, accountability of government and the human rights of all citizens.”
She said the arrogance of the current government was “breathtaking”. It was acting with impunity and abusing “the resources of the state for the enrichment of a party, themselves and their friends”.
“The arms deal, Nkandla, the Guptas, the list of these abuses goes on and on,” she said to a cheering crowd.
For the past five months Ramphele visited communities around the country listening to people’s concerns.
Ramphele said the country had reached a crossroads.
During Ramphele’s speech the mostly youthful crowd, started shouting “enough is enough”.
She introduced her campaign team calling them world-class.
Nkosinathi Solomon, who joined Agang from Absa, was the campaign director.
Also on the team were Dr Mills Soko, director of policy, from the University of Cape Town’s graduate school of business, Thabo Leshilo, a former Sowetan editor as director of communications, Zohra Dawood as director of fundraising and Rorisang Tshabalala as deputy director of field management.
Ramphele also announced that Vanessa Hani, former SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani’s daughter, would join her team to focus on mobilising women as part of the field management team.
Moeketsi Mosola joined as political director and would lead the creation of the party’s political leadership.
Ramphele said Agang would hold an elective conference towards the end of the year.
“There are many experienced parliamentarians and battle hardened activists who will join our national and provincial leadership in the coming months,” she said.
“We will strike a balance between old hands and many new faces.”
Retired Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu welcomed Ramphele’s entry into politics the day before she launched the party in Pretoria.
Few thinking South Africans would not welcome the entry into South African politics of someone of the calibre, background, intellect and resourcefulness of Mamphela Ramphele,” he said in a statement.
Ramphele said that Agang – which means “build” in Sepedi, one of South Africa’s 11 official languages, will create more jobs and hold leaders to account.
She believes her party can bring the ANC’s share of the popular vote to below 50 percent from the mid 60s where it now lies.
In May Tutu, who symbolized the struggle against apartheid almost on a par with fellow laureate Nelson Mandela, said he will no longer vote for the ANC, the party that has ruled the new South Africa since 1994.
“I’m not a card-carrying member of any political party. I have over the years voted for the ANC, but I would very sadly not be able to vote for them after the way things have gone.”
Tutu strongly criticised the ANC and Zuma corruption and of failing on promises for a betterment of life for South Africa’s poor.
On the launch of the new party, former Anglican Archbishop Tutu said, “I have known Dr. Ramphele for more than 30 years as a brave and principled leader who has been ready to take costly stands for social justice,
He said a strong constitutional democracy was strengthened by the presence of vibrant and credible opposition.
Ramphele’s political platform Agang was being officially launched as a party in Pretoria on Saturday.
Tutu said that although Ramphele criticised the ANC, as he had done, this did not mean she did not love her country or should lose the right to speak.
“Dr. Ramphele has spoken of a pervasive climate of fear and intolerance in South Africa, where critics restrict their criticisms to their armchairs behind closed doors rather than risk their capital or their connections or their clout.
The main opposition part in South Africa is the Democratic Alliance led by Helen Zille, who was a journalist and anti-apartheid activist.
“Only 10 percent of our born-frees have done well enough to get into university, and in the 20 years since the end of apartheid, our government has not addressed the key issue, which is poor quality of teachers and teaching standards.”
“Born-frees” is the name given to those born after apartheid was dismantled in the 1990s and this group of voters is being viewed to any changed in the political landscape.