Mamphela Ramphele has called on South Africans to participate in her new party political platform Agang to chart a new direction for the country.
"Fellow South Africans, I'm here today to invite you to join me on a journey to build the country of our dreams," she said at a briefing on Monday.
Ramphele, dressed in a white traditional dress, shawl and a black headdress, was addressing members of the media, dignitaries and guests nongovernmental organisations and the business sector at a press conferences held at the Women's Gaol at Constitution Hill.
"Today I announce that I am working with a group of fellow South African to build a partly political platform that will focus on rekindling hope that building the country of our dreams is possible in our lifetime," she added.
The platform was named Agang, which means "let's build". The public was invited to view the website and to contribute to the discussion on how to build South Africa.
'The country of our dreams'
Ramphele said the country of our dreams has faded for many South Africans.
"My generation has to apologise to the young people of our country. We have failed, yes we have failed," she said before listing all the major failures of government since 1994.
While Jacob Zuma candy-coated the State Of The Nation last week at the opening of Parliament, Ramphele did not pull any punches as she listed failures of the education system, the country's lack of good governance, the poor quality of public services, the economic exclusion of large swathes of the population, and the country's at times confused foreign policy.
She also slammed the ANC's process of drawing up party lists and dishing out seats in Parliament, and announced her intent to launch a million signature campaign for electoral reform.
"Electoral reform must be the first order of business for the Parliament after 2014," she said.
Ramphele added: "Our society's greatness is being undermined fundamentally by a massive failure of governance."
'War on corruption'
Ramphele said that the group would declare war on corruption.
"Corruption is theft. It steals textbooks from our schoolchildren, it steals drugs from sick people. It steals social grants from poor people and children, it robs citizens of hope and destroys peace," she said.
"This party political platform will declare war on corruption. It will work with all those in civil society and those citizens in the public service who share our concerns to fight this scourge."
Ramphele said South Africans had not taken the time after 1994 to shift their mindset from compliant subjects to thinking citizens, before calling for greater civil education from all corners of society. She added that the majority of citizens feel excluded and disrespected at all levels of daily lives.
"We have been on the brink before and we managed to pull ourselves from disaster," she said.
"I invite all compatriots to work with us, to build a South Africa we can all be proud of. We owe it to you, our children and your children, to leave them a legacy of a great country. I ask you all to join this."