Zuma: ANC not worried about Agang

Agang launched on Saturday and says it's ready to compete in next year's elections.

President Jacob Zuma addresses a special media briefing on the economy, especially on developments in the mining sector at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma says the ANC is not worried about the launch of South Africa's newest political party, Agang SA.

Zuma spoke about a wide range of issues on Monday at a meeting with the National Editors' Forum.

Asked about Agang, Zuma first joked about the pronunciation of the name and then said any South African is entitled to start a party.

"Leading towards elections, parties mushroom like grass, there's nothing new."

Agang launched on Saturday and says it's ready to compete in next year's elections.

AGANG TURNS TO US STRATEGY GROUP

Party leader Mamphela Ramphele confirmed that her party is being advised by the same American strategy group as US President Barack Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns.

In an interview with Talk Radio 702's John Robbie on Monday morning, Ramphele said, "We have had the benefit of being advised by the same firm that advised President Obama for his two successful campaigns."

The Benenson Strategy Group will assist Agang SA in engaging with voters on social media and other modern platforms.

She explained that the lack of credible consultants reveals a view that South Africans are "different from all other people in the world in terms of their ability to use social media" and that this showed "a lack of self-confidence".

"We believe that South African people are ready."

She said the firm will "really help us modernise South Africa's electioneering approach."

Ramphele also responded to claims that UDM leader Bantu Holomisa had "rubbished" the possibility of his party forming a coalition with Agang SA before the 2014 general elections.

"I don't know what you are referring to when you say he is rubbishing the talks."

She said that her party is considering a number of options but did not reveal any names.

Referring to the announcement by The Presidency that former President Nelson Mandela is now in a critical condition in a Pretoria hospital, where he has been for over two weeks, Ramphele said it was "a grave concern because I love him dearly."

"We have to pray for his comfort and we must keep his family in our prayers."