Accountability begins with the president – Ramphele

2013-06-22 14:47

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Accountability begins with the president of a country, Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele has 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,” Ramphele told a cheering crowd of supporters at the Tshwane Events Centre today.

“We have a right to know what kind of business is being done between officials, their families and the government.”

She said government was destroying the country’s economy.

“The fact is this, government cannot be trusted to run our economy,” said Ramphele.

“I say enough is enough, 20 years is too long ... No more time, this government has run its course.”

Ramphele was speaking at the official launch of her political party, Agang SA.

The former activist and businesswoman lashed out at the ANC-led government.

She said the current government was setting an “appalling” example that others were following.

“They seem to think they are beyond the reach of the law,” she said.

“One by one, they have systematically attacked the very foundations of our constitutional democracy, the judicial system, the freedom of the press, accountability of government and the human rights of all citizens.”

She said the arrogance of the current government was “breathtaking”. It was acting with impunity and abusing “the resources of the state for the enrichment of a party, themselves and their friends”.

“The arms deal, Nkandla, the Guptas, the list of these abuses goes on and on,” she said to a cheering crowd.

Politicians and officials had to be held accountable for their actions.

Earlier, Ramphele was welcomed by cheers from the youthful crowd who arrived to support her new party.

More than a thousand people, mostly dressed in white T-shirts with Agang SA printed on them, listened intently and cheered as Ramphele spoke about the problems facing South Africa.

In the past five months, Ramphele visited communities around the country listening to people’s concerns.

“We are here to begin the restoration of the promise of our great nation and to offer the hope of a better future for South Africa,” she told the crowd.

“There is a desperate need for change.”

After nearly 20 years, the country’s leaders had failed to deliver on the promise of freedom. It was too long to wait for jobs, education and healthcare.

Ramphele said the country had reached a crossroads.

“I, for one, do not want to think about where we will be in five years’ time unless we change course.”

But the country had potential and it was this which inspired Ramphele, at the age of 65, to enter South African politics and found Agang SA.

During Ramphele’s speech, the crowd started shouting “enough is enough”.

Ramphele would contest the 2014 national elections.

She said Agang would hold an elective conference towards the end of the year.

“There are many experienced parliamentarians and battle-hardened activists who will join our national and provincial leadership in the coming months,” she said.

“We will strike a balance between old hands and many new faces.”

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