Mamphela Ramphele entering into the sphere of politics can be seen as a breath of fresh air, albeit the road for her newly established Agang SA political platform and the expected party itself from this is bound to be rocky at best. The other parties would be short-sighted to not see her as a genuine threat to their votes, ANC very much included.
Sadly political allegiance is South Africa is still governed by race. It’s a simple fact.
The devaluation in of the ANC’s moral leadership is clearly evident throughout the country and the crippling apathy of their traditional power base to make their mark and voice heard during every election we face only further deepens the hole in which we are being dragged down.
There could be many reasons for this, but the forerunner must be education. The majority of the leading party’s electoral base is poor, uneducated and rural. This makes them extremely susceptible to empty promises, grand gestures of good will and most dangerous of all racial politicking.
Speeches, quotes and daily outbursts are common from the once people serving alliance, which splutters ‘beware of white capital’, ‘white business agendas’, ‘beware of the white tendencies’ and proceeds to belittle every other black man or women opposing them in opposition – the famous ‘tea lady’ chirp made to Lindiwe Mazibuko by Julius or when Blade Nzimande scolded her in parliament for not knowing anything because she didn’t grow up in a township is evident.
This barrage leaves one with little doubt of the effectiveness of these scare tactics regardless of the performance and record of the current administration
Ramphele entry into the fray is a wakeup call.
On cue the smear tactics have begun, listing her speech as nothing new and the condescending tone of a few of the parties already, have given us a precursor to their stance, Cosatu have begun to attack her dealings at the World Bank and subsequent tenure as Chair of Gold Fields a very expected line of attack from the union.
Credentials is everything. Ramphele has them, the ANC had them. This is a new era and it’s time for liberation hero’s to step aside. Their contributions were invaluable to the democracy in South Africa but the ones clinging on in power now are unravelling all that hard work that was put in.
Ramphele is a former activist, she is of the mould of the Black Consciousness Movement, she is highly educated, has taught at one of the premier universities in this country, has led the World Bank and chaired one of the largest mines board in this land – that in itself is no easy task.
Compare this to the majority of ministers and leaders in government circles and the comparison is deafening.
Different from Helen Zille but of a similar make up, she will pose a threat to the current powers based on her intellect, sincerity and pedigree, because this is what is feared most and Helen knows this far too well.
Yes she does no talk an entirely different game from most, but she talks it with conviction and rings the right notes with her desire to build a ‘South African Conscience’.
Debate will be spirited about who she will win as voters, will she take away from the DA, or will it be the disenfranchised black middle class sick to death of the ANC’s failed promises or collect the outliers from smaller groups not comfortable with their political home?
One thing for sure is that she will make a mark.