Johannesburg - Mamphela Ramphele's party political platform is grievance driven, the ANC said on Monday.
“The initiative by Dr Ramphele is goading South Africans to participate at the periphery of our political dispensation,” spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.
“Whilst Dr Ramphele rehashes the known challenges facing our country, she does not bring any new suggestions to the table.”
The issues raised by Ramphele were covered in the recent State of the Nation address by President Jacob Zuma. They would be fully attended to in Parliamentary debates this week, as well as during the appropriation of budgets by both national and provincial departments, he said.
After weeks of speculation that she was planning to form a political party, Ramphele announced on Monday that she had formed a “party political platform”.
Ramphele has called her party political platform Agang SA, which means “build South Africa” in Sepedi.
She said she intended using it to contest the 2014 national elections.
Mthembu said Ramphele provided no clarity on what new things the party political platform would bring to the political terrain.
“It is clear that this undefined party political platform is a forerunner to the formation of a political party by Dr Ramphele.
“We welcome her to the political environment and we hope that she has the necessary staying power. We will meet her where it matters most - in the hearts and minds of our people,” he said.
The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said it saw no future for Ramphele's political party.
“As with any new party we get the inevitable political demagoguery,” Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said in a statement.
“We have however to look behind such fine but empty words, at the record of the person uttering them. What we can expect from someone who was a managing director of the World Bank from 2000 to 2004 and the chairperson of Gold Fields from 2010, until she suddenly resigned just days before her Agang announcement,” Craven said.
He said Ramphele's economic policies were indistinguishable from those of the Democratic Alliance, who wanted to free the market economy so that it could exploit the workers more ruthlessly and increase the profits of big business.
“Workers should not be fooled. The ANC has an incomparably better track record of struggle than any of the opposition parties, including this latest one.”
He said the ANC and its alliance were more likely to begin economic transformation in the country.
Other political parties reacted cautiously to Ramphele’s announcement.
“The Democratic Alliance takes note of Dr Mamphela Ramphele’s announcement today that she intends to engage South Africans about the formation of a new political party in the coming months,” said Mmusi Maimane, a spokesman for the official opposition in Parliament.
“Dr Ramphele shares the DA’s core values of non-racialism and constitutionalism, and her move is another step in the long process of realigning South African politics around these values,” he said.
United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa welcomed Ramphele’s decision. “We look forward to working with Dr Ramphele in our efforts to build a strong political alternative for the people of South Africa,” he said.
The Christian Democratic Party said it was not clear what political philosophy Ramphele intended to follow.
“What is apparent however is that the language used by her is noticeably reminiscent of the liberal, with a strong undertone of the socialist, ideologies,” CDP leader Theunis Botha said in a statement.
“This is no different to what is presently being propagated by both the ANC and the DA.”
Ramphele had omitted to mention the people who were to help her form the new party political platform.
“One wonders why in the midst of such an impassioned plea for transparency this was omitted, and it would be interesting to know who are the financial backers of this venture,” said Botha.
The problems Ramphele pointed out were already known, and the solutions given were no different to other offered before, he added.
The SA National Civic Organisation said Ramphele's decision was based on “seriously flawed” assumptions by political commentators.
“As Sanco, we say to Dr Mamphela Ramphele, welcome to the world of reality,” it said in a statement on Monday.
“Now that she has opened herself up to scrutiny, we are justified to point out a few concerns about her and her ambitions.”
“We believe that their flawed opinions, born of white capitalist influence... are based on whims, not proper research,” it said.
“We believe that these political analysts... think that a certain number of service delivery protests (and) attacks on ANC leadership by other disgruntled individuals, are key pointers that the ANC-led movement is collapsing. All of you are wrong.”
Sanco said Ramphele and her “elitist following” underestimated the grassroots of ANC loyalists.
It also questioned whether she had held a teaching position at the University of Cape Town (UCT) before being promoted to vice-chancellor.
“Some insiders at the UCT, we are told, say it took seven years to correct the bungles left behind by your leadership in that institution,” it said.
“They say the biggest blunder or disaster you left behind was the amalgamation of all the arts and social science schools into one big monster that was unmanageable.”
It said she served only one four-year term at the World Bank, and that her appointment was the result of “political correctness”.
“Welcome to the world of reality politics. We can safely say that the lifespan of your party will be as short as your numerous stints at various institutions,” Sanco said. - Sapa