Cape Town, South Africa – Njongonkulu Ndungane, the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, on Thursday expressed support for Dr. Mamphela Ramphele’s call for a national dialogue on key issues in South Africa.
Expressing her disillusionment with the African National Congress-led government, Ramphele Monday launched a new political party called Agang.
Agang – which means “to build” – plans to invite South Africans to a consultative process ahead of the 2014 general elections.
“One of the most promising outcomes of Dr. Ramphele’s proposed dialogue is that finally we will have the opportunity to put theory into action and policy into practice,' Ndungane said.
Of particular interest to him, said Ndungane, was Ramphele's focus on youth and education.
Recalling President Nelson Mandela’s observation when he received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1993 that through education “a daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that a son of a mine worker become the head of a mine, and the child of farm workers become the president of a nation,” Ndungane pointed out that South Africa’s “biggest challenge lies in the quality of education.
“We need a national dialogue focused on investment in education and skills training that can produce highly skilled youth and which can propel the country’s development to a higher growth path.”
The respected anti-apartheid activist launched her new political party on Monday to challenge South Africa's ruling ANC, saying self-interested and corrupt leaders were threatening the nation's economy.
Saying that the 'Rainbow Nation' was dying under the ANC, Ramphele said: 'Our society's greatness is being undermined by a massive failure of governance.'
She urged South Africans to 'build our nation into the country of our dreams'.
Ramphele, 65, faces a formidable challenge from the ANC which still commands nearly two-thirds majority in parliament although political support for the ruling party is dwindling 19 years after the end of white-minority rule.