Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele will take a break from politics, she said in an open letter on the party's website on Thursday.
“I have always said that I was the bridge and would make sure that the reins are handed over at an appropriate time to a new generation of leaders,” she said.
“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.”
Ramphele admitted that her party's performance in the general elections last week was “disappointing”, but said it had been wonderful to see so many South Africans vote and uphold political freedom.
Agang secured 52 350 votes, or 0.28 percent, in the national election.
She would remain available to provide advice to the party's parliamentary pair, national youth forum co-ordinator Nyameka Mgozulu and chairman Mike Tshishonga.
“After such a taxing journey I do need some time and space to settle my mind and body, enjoy time with family and friends, and reconnect with a personal world I have not had time to enjoy for a considerable time now.
“This is where I believe I can make the most valuable contribution to the party and my beloved country.”
Businesswoman and struggle veteran Ramphele founded Agang SA last year.
In early 2014, the Democratic Alliance announced that Ramphele would stand as its presidential candidate. Within a week, however, the partnership collapsed.
Ramphele and DA leader Helen Zille gave conflicting reasons for their political break-up.
Zille said it would have been impossible to meet Ramphele's demand that she simultaneously lead Agang SA and be the DA's presidential candidate. She described Ramphele's proposal as “electoral nonsense”, “unconstitutional” and confusing to voters.
Ramphele said: “Some cannot or will not transcend party politics. The time for this was not right. We see people trapped in old-style race-based politics.”
She said the technicalities of the merger were not ironed out properly.
Ramphele said at the time that Agang's interim constitution prohibited dual political party membership and that a merger with another party could only be done through a national congress, or if the national leadership council met with 20 members in good standing to discuss the decision.
Making a firm commitment to the DA would have been disrespectful to Agang members, she said. - Sapa