Agang already in talks with opposition parties

2013-06-24 00:00

OPPOSITION parties welcomed the new political party Agang, launched by Dr Mamphela Ramphele at the weekend, and coalition talks have already begun.

Agang is reportedly already meeting the UDM and Cope on possible co-operation, after each party’s relative power is determined at next year’s general election.

Agang will also align with opposition parties in terms of deploying party agents at voting stations.

On Saturday, more than 2 000 enthusiastic Agang members attended the party’s launch at the Pretoria showgrounds. Some had travelled from as far as the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape.

Organisers made provision for children, with a jumping castle, slides, balloons, food stalls and soccer games keeping the young ones occupied while their parents attended to the political activities.

Agang policy director Mills Soko said the party had appointed the American Benenson Strategy Group “to advise us on election strategy”, because it was “the best we could find”. The group advised U.S. President Barak Obama in 2008. Soko refused to talk about the cost.

Ramphele’s speech received the crowd’s loud and vocal approval. Their biggest roars of approval were given for three key points: criticism of President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla residence, as well as his links to the Gupta family; and Ramphele’s insistence that voters must vote for the future, not the past.

TheANC should not get another five years to destroy South Africa’s potential, she said, and attacked Zuma by name.

The crowd cheered as she said: “We deserve to have a president who knows that it is wrong to steal money meant for RDP houses to build himself a R205 million palace. We have a right to know what kind of business is being done between officials, their families and the government.”

Ramphele said “many experienced parliamentarians and battle-hardened activists” would join Agang’s national and provincial leadership in the coming months.

Soko said the party would hold an elective conference towards the end of the year to elect its leaders.

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