Agang SA prepares to launch party
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Johannesburg - Agang SA will launch as a formal political party on Saturday four months after its leader Mamphela Ramphele announced the formation of the platform.
“This is a momentous week for Agang SA as we prepare for the launch of our party on Saturday,” Ramphele said.
“Agang offers the prospect of restoring the promise of freedom and a hope for the future that is striking a chord with people across the country.”
Ramphele has spent the past few months visiting communities around South Africa as part of Agang SA's consultation period.
She has been vocal about the problems facing the country, such as education, health, and land.
The former activist and businesswoman has also spoken out about electoral reform and raised concerns about the independence of elections.
Earlier this week, Ramphele told the Cape Town Press Club that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) had eroded as an independent electoral commission.
She said Agang SA was in talks with other political parties, the Democratic Alliance in particular, to double-check certain IEC processes.
Ramphele said that during a four-month tour of the country, she became aware of “sinister” intimidation of voters.
She had heard of some people being required to take pictures of their ballot papers with their cellphones to be “rewarded for doing the right thing”.
“Voters don't actually know that they have a choice. Many are being told that if you go into that ballot box, we can see who you vote for and therefore we will punish you and take away your grants or your RDP houses,” she said.
Ramphele said she believed it was necessary to launch Agang SA as a political party, despite fears that it would divide the opposition.
Last week, a non-governmental organisation laid claim to the name “Agang”.
The Hola Bon Renaissance (HBR) Foundation said in a statement on Thursday one of its “strategic programmes” was called “Agang”.
In response Agang SA said it launched in February and its trademark application was still underway.
“It appears that an alternative trademark application was made in April. However, our legal advisers suggest that this should be unsuccessful,” the party said in a statement.
On Friday, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said someone of Ramphele's calibre should be welcomed into South African politics.
“...I have known Dr Ramphele for more than 30 years as a brave and principled leader who has been ready to take costly stands for social justice,” Tutu said in a statement.
He said a strong constitutional democracy was strengthened by the presence of a vibrant and credible opposition.
Agang SA would be launched at the Tshwane Events Centre in Pretoria with an entertainment line-up of local musicians which included MiCasa, Sibongile Mngoma, and Imilonji KaNtu.
“I would like to invite South Africans from all walks to join the thousands of our supporters who will be there from 9am for a day of celebration with music, food, and entertainment,” said Ramphele.
The party said supporters would be able to register as members at the launch. - Sapa