South Africa's newest party suspends leader

South Africa's newest party suspends leader

Monday, June 30, 2014 12:16 am

Johannesburg:  South Africa’s newest party has suspended its leader, anti-apartheid veteran Mamphela Ramphele, a year after she founded the group which failed to make inroads in elections and has lurched from crisis to crisis.

The Times newspaper reported Sunday the former World Bank managing director had been suspended by her own party, baring divisions that have dogged Agang SA since its formation in June 2013.

“She is suspended pending a disciplinary hearing. That should be within 14 days,” the party’s deputy leader Andries Tloumma told the newspaper.

The 66-year-old Ramphele is accused of making decisions without consulting fellow party leaders, such as unilaterally deciding on the party’s two parliamentary representatives.

A respected academic and successful business executive, she had been seen briefly as the best candidate to lure voters away from the dominant African National Congress (ANC) in May elections.

Amid growing discontent with the ruling ANC, Ramphele was considered a candidate who could break the country out of its traditional race-based politics.

In February she entered into a deal to be the presidential candidate of the official opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA).

But the pact imploded within days, with DA leader Helen Zille accusing Ramphele of reneging on her promises, including merging her party with the DA.

Agang SA, which had struggled to gather funds and support in a crowded field, went on to contest the May 7 elections but won only two seats.


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