Yesterday I had the opportunity to witness the birth of a new party political party—Agang SA, nguni word for build South Africa.
The movement is the brain child of the struggle veteran, author and medical doctor, Mamphela Ramphele.
She proudly stood before a handful of media representatives at Constitutional Hill Yesterday and explained what Agang SA is about.
It was clear by her passionate words that she was disappointed by how the ruling party deserted the path they all agreed upon when they stood together in 1994, choking down emotion as Tata Nelson Mandela was inaugurated. She reminded her generation about the South Africa they imagined then—“a country free of corruption, where the people govern together.”
Corruption is something Dr Ramphele feels strongly about. “Corruption is theft and should be treated as such,” she said pointing out that the biggest losers in the game are the poor people; hence her party will look into the needs of those less privileged.
Dr Ramphele also 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.
Agang SA vows it will bring “education of the 21st century” to South Africa, and build competent public services. It also claims that it will not give disproportionate power to party leaders and city bosses.
Dr Ramphele’s ambition and enthusiasm was contagious. Could this be the party I will finally be a part of? Will 2014 be the year I finally exercise my right to vote, by voting for a party I strongly believe in?
It was when she said “the ANC represents how they (her generation mostly) has abused the state”, that something in me shifted and I questioned myself. Dr Ramphele had me where it matters most, my soul.
Her speech put me in a trance. I could almost see myself living in the world she spoke of. I questioned myself still, how can she be so confident about taking on a party that has been around for over a century?
I was reminded of political parties such as COPE which tried to compete with the ANC but had difficulty getting off the ground. What the Dr forgets is that given our history, the ANC is something that's in our blood.
It’s like family. You see with family you can fight, but you can never really walk away. The point I'm trying to make here is that I don't see a lot people deserting the ANC to join Agang SA.
I left Constitutional Hill with high hopes for a better tomorrow, a better South Africa. But the more I thought about Dr Ramphele’s speech, the more I couldn’t help but feel there was nothing new in what she said, it was just packaged differently.
I think what Dr Ramphele should have done was to take her brilliant ideas and use them to better the ANC instead on turn storming out and starting her own her party.
Despite my doubts about this new political party, I am happy to see that there are people who believe that building a country of our dreams, free of corruption, inequality and nepotism is possible.
All I can do for now is to wish Agang SA all the best for next year’s elections.