Last updateLun, 26 Jan 2015 8pm

South Africa: Official opposition, DA, names Ramphele as presidential candidate

Cape Town, South Africa - The leader of South Africa’s recently formed Agang political party Mamphela Ramphele was Tuesday announced as the presidential candidate of the country’s official opposition Democratic Alliance (DA). Describing it as an 'astonishing moment' in South Africa's political history, she told reporters in Cape Town that the decision was in the best interests of the country, which is heading into “turbulent waters” ahead of this year's national elections.

Ramphele pledged that she would lead South Africa “to a place where black and white, rich and poor, rural and urban, young and old, men and women, will come together at last”. 

She said this is the country Nelson Mandela set out to establish.

“We are the government-in-waiting, we are the representatives of millions of South Africans, who believe in the promise and potential of a multiparty democracy, in a state that respects all people and works to deliver public services to those in need. This is the time to bring all our country's fantastic wealth and talent together. Not for the few but for the many, not just for insiders but for allsiders,” she said.

DA leader Helen Zille also described the appointment as “a game changing moment” for South Africa.'

Ramphele, who is a former anti-apartheid activist and medical doctor, was the life partner of Steve Biko, with whom she had two children.

She is a former Vice-Chancellor at the University of Cape Town and a one-time Managing Director at the World Bank.

In February 2013, she announced the formation of a new political party, named Agang (the Sotho word for 'Build').