Ramphele's speech praised

A speech delivered by Mamphela Ramphele has been described as “the real State of the Nation Address”.

Dr Mamphela Ramphele launches SA’s newest political party, Agang. Picture: Christa van der Walt/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - A speech delivered by Dr Mamphela Ramphele at the launch of South Africa's newest political party has been described as "the real State of the Nation Address".

Mixed reaction streamed in on Monday following Ramphele's entry into politics through a political platform which will morph into a party.

The initiative is called Agang, which means to "build".

The academic and activist has called on South Africans to build the country of their dreams in this lifetime.

Ramphele said the party would work towards contesting in the 2014 general elections.

One of the key people reportedly behind Ramphele's new party is political analyst Moeletsi Mbeki, who said the author's speech was one of the most powerful speeches delivered in democratic South Africa.

"It certainly is the State of the Nation Address of 2013. It addresses the core problems of South Africa."

Questions have been raised about the connection or disconnection Ramphele has with her constituency, but she believes she has what it takes to appeal to the masses.

"I was born in a rural area and I worked all my life as a student activist in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape and Limpopo."

But Congress of South African Trade Unions secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi said he saw no future for the initiative, while the ANC was quick to raise questions about its funding and relevance.

The ANC has accused Agang of being driven by grievances and funded by foreigners.

It said those who supported Ramphele's initiative would find themselves on the periphery of the country's politics.

The ruling party also said it was ready to meet Ramphele where it counted, in the hearts and minds of the people.

But the academic and activist told Eyewitness News she was ready.

"We are here to get South Africans who are anxious about the future of their country to find a political home where they can contribute."