Ramphele resignation met with mixed reaction

Mamphela Ramphele has resigned from Gold Fields fueling speculation of her entry into politics.

Mamphela Ramphele is still not giving anything away about a new political party.Photo: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - There has been mixed reaction to academic and activist Mamphela Ramphele's decision to resign from the board of yet another major corporate company.

Ramphele stepped down as chair of Gold Fields on Wednesday, having already resigned from the board of Remgro.

The gold producer said Ramphele's contribution has been invaluable and that the move was so that she could focus on her socio-economic and political plans.

The move is bound to fuel speculation about her entry into politics and whether she plans to launch a new party.

But, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said the resignation was long overdue.

NUM said the mining sector needed strong leaders and not opinion makers that shout from the sidelines without sparking any concomitant action.

This phrase became synonymous with the Marikana bloodbath and the fight by miners for better wages.

Ramphele was expected to reveal her political plans on Monday and former South African Airways chairwoman Cheryl Carolus will take over from her at Gold Fields.


The Former World Bank director said last week Thursday, perceived problems between government and big business stems from a lack of communication, and not animosity.

Speaking exclusively to Eyewitness News , Ramphele side-stepped questions about her political future but asked whether South Africans were ready to redefine the nature of the country's politics.

Ramphele also said tough conversations needed to happen between government and business.

She added those conversations must accompany the restructuring of the economy, so that a larger number of South Africans could benefit from the country's wealth.

"We as a country need to demand nothing more than a competent, meritocratic, accountable public service."

She spoke out about the state of education and a lack of training in the police, which she believes fuels violent protests.