Ramphele poised to enter politics

2013-01-27 10:01

Struggle heavyweight Mamphela Ramphele is preparing to enter politics and is expected to make an announcement about it soon.

Ramphele went to the US earlier this month, where she told at least one audience she was raising funds for a “political party”. She has also been lobbying ambassadors for support.

Former DA leader Tony Leon told City Press two people who attended her meetings in the US told him independently of each other about Ramphele’s expressed intentions.

“One of these meetings was in Boston, where she spoke at the residence of South African-born (retired) Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Margaret Marshall.

“A friend of mine from South Africa was there. She said Ramphele was starting a political party and she was there to raise money,” Leon said.

At least two sources said they were expecting an announcement from her about this next month.

Last year DA leader Helen Zille tried to woo Ramphele, but Ramphele chose to focus on her NGO, the Citizens’ Movement.

Ramphele, who is a close friend of Zille’s, has helped write DA policy documents in the past.

But one source said Ramphele felt more action was needed following President Jacob Zuma’s re-election as ANC president in Mangaung last month.

An ambassador with whom Ramphele has met recently said she seemed “anxious to do something more”.

Ramphele also told audiences in the US “she is now going into politics to save the country”.

A Cope MP told City Press the party was hoping that Ramphele, together with other civil society organisations, would cooperate more closely with a forum of opposition parties ahead of next year’s elections to defeat the ANC.

DA federal chairperson Wilmot James said the DA had rejected proposals of cooperation with other parties outside Parliament.

James said there were no formal talks between the DA and Ramphele, but “if she enters into the political world, that would be a welcome development”.

Zille referred all queries to Ramphele, who said she could only talk tomorrow because she was at a funeral.

– Additional reporting by Mandy Rossouw

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