Mamphela Ramphele. File picture: Mike Hutchings

Johannesburg - Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele is calling on her party to protect the organisation's image and defend it from power-hungry members, the party said on Tuesday.

“Self-appointed leaders who have yet to demonstrate the ability to lead constructively cannot be allowed to interrupt the work at hand,” Ramphele said in a statement.

“Usurpers are not builders. They need to be told loud and clearly that they cannot reap where they have not sown.”

The party has been divided as a faction tries to wrestle the leadership of the party from Ramphele.

One faction held a national executive committee meeting in Alexandra over the weekend where it was decided that Ramphele was not fit for the position.

The group adopted a motion of no confidence in her leadership and questioned her leadership style. She was subsequently suspended but a group supporting Ramphele retaliated by expelling those who attended the meeting.

“The motion of no confidence was motivated by the fact that Dr Ramphele's leadership style has been erratic and inconsistent with the principles and goals of the party,” deputy president Andries Tlouamma said in a statement.

“Among other things, she has arbitrarily suspended members of the party, acted contrary to the party constitution, and generally adopted a dictatorial style antithetical to the democratic principles of the party.”

Tlouamma said Ramphele had gathered around herself a faction of the party more interested in their own advantage than in the interests of the party.

“The basis of Dr Ramphele's suspension as president of the party is prima facie evidence that she was implicated in the setting up of a fraudulent bank account, into which the electoral deposit of the party by the Electoral Commission was returned,” he said.

She would in the interim be replaced by Michael Tshishonga as party president.

Ramphele responded on Tuesday by saying the party's values were about the politics of inclusion and respect for human rights, accountability and effective and efficient governance.

“Agang is a dream for builders not destroyers. Let the real builders please stand and defend the dream,” she said.

Ramphele added that those who voted for Agang were not attracted by the prospect of parliamentary seats, but by the prospect of giving voice to the many who had lost hope that their daily struggles could be given voice.

She said the party was faced with a task of building local, regional and provincial structures and members should refrain from trying to find quick solutions to their problems.

“The events of the last few weeks culminating in last weekend's factional meeting are about the politics of power. This factionalism is not about Mamphela Ramphele, it is about the failure of those entrusted with the power of representation in parliament to represent the people who voted for Agang in the hope of new politics,” she said.