What will Ramphele do?
Launch a new party
Struggle heavyweight Mamphela Ramphele has postponed her expected entry into politics by a week.
A source close to her said she will be issuing a press release tomorrow with details of when and where her announcement, in Gauteng, will take place.
During her recent trip overseas, Ramphele has been telling audiences that she was fundraising to start a new political party.
But although there was talk of interest from other intellectuals and disgruntled ANC members, it appears there hasn’t been enough interest in such a project.
Commentators said it took a lot of hard work to start a party and it was unclear which part of the electorate she would appeal to.
Lead the opposition realignment
Ramphele this week deflected questions about her expected entry into politics, but she told Eyewitness News in an interview that South Africa should be “ready to redefine the nature of politics in this country”.
She also said: “We don’t want an additional player to what is happening. We need something that will transcend what is happening.”
A Cope MP claimed Ramphele had been in talks with Cope as well as other opposition parties in Parliament, although UDM leader Bantu Holomisa has denied this.
“She will have to join or start a party to enter politics, so it makes sense to me that she should establish a platform,” Holomisa said.
In meetings with other opposition parties, Holomisa has suggested an umbrella under which opposition parties could pull together to contest next year’s elections.
Parties are expected to give feedback on this at their next scheduled meeting on Tuesday.
Join the DA via a detour
At least three sources inside the DA this week said Ramphele negotiated with the party until shortly before her departure overseas to raise money for her new venture.
“Many were surprised to find out she was raising money for her own party,” a source said.
DA leader Helen Zille said she wouldn’t comment “until I hear what Mamphela has to say. Until then everything is speculation and conjecture.”
She also said Ramphele joining the DA “was not part of the discussion” they had.
There had been previous overtures to Ramphele about joining the DA, with talk that she wanted to run as the party’s presidential candidate.
She has previously rejected advances by the DA, but sources close to the coalition process between the DA and Patricia de Lille’s ID said there had been many similarities between the two processes so far.
This included the secrecy surrounding Ramphele’s expected announcement.
There has also been speculation that Ramphele would launch her own party to give her a political platform from which to negotiate her entry into the DA.