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Richard Cypher
 
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Quo vadis Mamphele?

16 May 2014, 11:01

Imagine my lack of surprise when I tuned in to the early news this morning and heard that Mamphele Ramphele will not be going to Parliament. She was the leader of a political party that, on paper at least, could be a sensible opposition. Towards the end of last year, I even had some friends who indicated that they are considering drawing their X next to Agang SA in the 2014 elections.

So what happened along the way that the party that was launched amid such a big fanfare ended up being such a dismal failure garnering only 52 350 votes nationally? The reason I call it a dismal failure is that even the AIC, who I have never heard of until now, managed to gather almost double the votes that Agang SA got.

In my opinion, Agang SA was fatally wounded after the attempted merger (or not?) with the DA earlier this year. Ramphele as a presidential candidate for the DA would have been a good thing. She is highly educated, has the correct struggle credentials and a very influential business leader. And the right colour on top of it all. When it was announced that she would be the DA’s presidential candidate, I was ecstatic. Finally South Africans will have a chance of actually getting a credible opposition to the ANC.

I don’t have to convey my chagrin when barely a week later the deal went sour as I am share many who read this would have felt the same. It was a classic case of her wanting her cake and eating it as well. That chagrin most certainly translated into lost votes for Agang SA. A party with a leader who speaks out of both sides of her mouth simply cannot be trusted. Should they get a decent amount of votes, who would they form alliances with in order to get more power and influence? Political prostitution is somewhat expected and even tolerated to some extent in an election year, but this was taking it a bit too far.

So where to now Dr Ramphele? In your interview you mentioned: "In the next short while I will take time to reflect on the Agang SA journey and will then return to contribute to building Agang SA and a winning South Africa together with all of you." Think long and hard about that. You have been weighed and found wanting by the electorate. Do you really think that your continued involvement with Agang SA will help that poor little party anywhere but down the abyss?

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