February 4, 2013.
Johannesburg - Former Black Consciousness Movement activist Barney Pityana said he would back a new political party by academic Mamphele Ramphele, Business Day reported on Monday.
Pityana said Ramphele would become a new voice in a country with an economic development trajectory that needed major changes.
According to the newspaper, Ramphele was expected to launch her new party next month and was widely expected to woo "leaders of good standing".
She said last week she had "noted" reports that she intended forming a political party and that she would speak for herself about her plans.
Ramphele said she had been having conversations with South Africans about the country's democracy, and been gathering views on tackling social, economic and political problems.
Comment: In recent days there has been speculative reporting about Ramphele's decisions to start a new party while she has played coy not taking questions and not showing her cards.
All we know is that she was in the US raising funds for a new party and the news of her activities leaked.
I am amused. Why would she think she has the agency to start her "own" party? Political parties are not businesses. Where is the legitimacy in sourcing seed capital in the US for a party that is supposedly aimed at representing South Africans?
Who then would be the masters of that capital and the attendant interests inclusive of its political mandate?
I am, however, not surprised that Ramphele would be more at ease selling herself to western interests than doing the footwork to create a legitimate movement for change in South Africa.
She is an elitist celebrity whose only claim to political relevance is that she had a personal relationship with Steve Biko during the time that the Black Consciousness Movement was founded. And, if that relationship had any influence on her politics it is certainly not evident in who she is today.
If Biko had lived he would not have been amused by how easily she fits in with neo-liberal interests as her work with the World Bank demonstrates.
I am not saying that she does not have credibility in her critique of the ruling party and the mess that they have become. She is far from alone in her critique but to conflate that critique with a solid base for an alternative party is delusional.
She is not of the masses and does not represent their concerns. If anything she represents the fringe interests of black bourgeois who are tied to white/western capital and interests.
Ramphele will soon learn that she is not the savior she thinks she is ... the ANC has nothing to fear from what will essentially be the black counterpart to Helen Zille and her party.