Mamphela Ramphele. File picture: Mike Hutchings

Cape Town - Agang SA will ensure every willing person gets a university education if the party is voted into power, its leader Mamphela Ramphele said on Friday.

“Every person will be able to walk into a university fully paid,” she told students at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town.

She said education should not be a “debt sentence” in a country that spent so much money on that portfolio.

“In what proud democracy do you have universities shutting down because students can't afford to pay for registration?”

Ramphele was being hosted by the Democratic Alliance Students' Organisation (Daso), who had initially wanted to welcome her as the DA's presidential candidate.

On Sunday, the DA announced that Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele had gone back on an agreement to stand as the DA's presidential candidate.

Daso branch leader for the University of the Western Cape, Abongile Mjokozeli, told Sapa they were still technically hosting Ramphele, but only as an academic, and not as Agang SA's leader.

Mjokozeli said when a coalition was in sight for the two parties last week, Daso booked a venue at the university on Agang SA's behalf.

This was because Agang SA was still in the process of being officially recognised as a political party in the university's structure.

“Due to the recent developments in the past week, Agang persisted in having the event. Daso had not cancelled the event,” Mjokozeli said.

“As a result, Agang is then footing the bill of the entire event.”

Ramphele's lecture “Education should not be a debt sentence”, sounded more like an election manifesto than an academic presentation. Students were told about how the party would improve education should it come into power.

Ramphele told the students clad in green party shirts who packed the venue that the event was a “soft” launch for the elections.

“This government doesn't believe black people are so clever as anyone else,” she said in reference to the 35 percent senior certificate pass rate.

“You have to say no. You are capable of education at the highest level. You are the majority. You have been the silent majority.”