Agang launch: Nkandla, Guptas, arms deal – Ramphele criticises government

"The leaders of this current government set an appalling example that others follow … They seem to think they are beyond the reach of the law," Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele said on Saturday at the Tshwane Events Centre.

"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.

The former activist and businessperson was welcomed by cheers from the 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 problems facing South Africa.

For 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."

Leaders failed to deliver
After nearly 20 years, the country's leaders failed to deliver on the promise of freedom, she said. Adding that 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. Imagine five more years of corruption," she said as the crowd shouted "no".

"Imagine five more years of young people being lost from the education system and the economy. Five more years of millions of people entering the workforce but not having jobs. Five more years of non-functioning hospitals and clinics."

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

During Ramphele's speech the mostly youthful crowd, started shouting "enough is enough".

She introduced her campaign team calling them world-class.

Nkosinathi Solomon, who joined Agang from Absa, was the campaign director.

Also on the team were Dr Mills Soko, director of policy, from the University of Cape Town's graduate school of business, Thabo Leshilo, a former Sowetan editor as director of communications, Zohra Dawood as director of fundraising and Rorisang Tshabalala as deputy director of field management.

Elective conference
Ramphele also announced that Vanessa Hani, former South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani's daughter, would join her team to focus on mobilising women as part of the field management team.

Moeketsi Mosola joined as political director and would lead the creation of the party's political leadership.

Ramphele 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." – Sapa

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