Moeletsi Mbeki the man behind Agang?
Is political analyst and businessman Moeletsi Mbeki the man responsible for getting Dr Mamphela Ramphele into politics?
A source with close knowledge of Ramphele’s decision to launch “party political platform” Agang on Monday said Mbeki convinced her to go ahead with the idea in August last year.
He said that despite Mbeki’s denials he was indeed involved in the initiative.
“I know he was involved as recently as Wednesday.” He also said Mbeki was the “central figure” in the discussions between the official opposition DA and Ramphele about how they should cooperate.
DA federal chairperson Wilmot James and party leader Helen Zille were also involved in the talks, the source said.
“Moeletsi’s approach is that opposition parties need to amalgamate with Mamphela Ramphele as the leader,” he said, adding that the sticking point was the involvement of Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota, a close friend of Mbeki’s.
The DA doesn’t want Lekota to be involved in the initiative, while Mbeki is pushing for his inclusion.
It has been widely reported that the talks between Ramphele and the DA fell apart after the DA’s party conference in November.
But another source with close knowledge of the talks said that from the DA side talks only broke off in January, after it was revealed Ramphele planned to fly solo into politics.
Negotiators from the DA were apparently not aware of these plans.
Mbeki, who was at the launch of Ramphele’s initiative on Monday in Johannesburg, admitted to being close friends with her for almost 25 years, but denied that he convinced her to enter politics.
“It is entirely her own idea,” he said.
Asked whether it was true that friends influenced each other, Mbeki said: “Yes, but that is not for the media.”
He also declined to comment about his possible involvement in negotiations with the DA, although he admitted to being a friend of Zille and talking to her “about everything under the sun”.
Mbeki said the fact that he was on the board of a company called Great Potential for South Africa, which registered Agang’s website, did not mean he was involved in the initiative.
Ramphele told City Press this week: “Moeletsi has been a friend of mine for donkey’s years.
We continue to work together.
“He is a very important intellectual in this country.”
She added: “We don’t agree on everything, but we do share the same interest to see our country making a fresh start.” – Additional reporting by Sabelo Ndlangisa