South Africa’s Ramphele quits party politics

July 8, 2014 4:37 pm
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Helen Zille (R), leader of the South African opposition party Democratic Alliance (DA), speaks at a press conference on January 28, 2014, at a hotel in Cape Town, where Mamphela Ramphele (L), was announced as the DA Presidential candidate for the upcoming 2014 South African elections/AFP
Helen Zille (R), leader of the South African opposition party Democratic Alliance (DA), speaks at a press conference on January 28, 2014, at a hotel in Cape Town, where Mamphela Ramphele (L), was announced as the DA Presidential candidate for the upcoming 2014 South African elections/AFP

JOHANNESBURG, July 8- South African anti-apartheid veteran and former World Bank managing director Mamphela Ramphele, who was briefly a presidential candidate before May elections, said Tuesday she was quitting party politics.

Ramphele, 66, leaves her party Agang, which won two parliamentary seats, in disarray after a series of internal squabbles.

“I have decided to leave party politics and return to working alongside my fellow citizens in civil society to pursue the dream of transforming ours into a more just and prosperous society,” Ramphele said in a statement.

Ramphele, a respected academic and successful businesswoman, had in February entered into a deal to be the presidential candidate of the official opposition Democratic Alliance, but that pact imploded within days.

It would have been the first time that the DA had fielded a black presidential candidate in an election, providing a shield against persistent charges they are a vessel for minority white interests.

Ramphele — who was the partner of slain South African Black Consciousness hero Steve Biko — would have faced beleaguered incumbent President Jacob Zuma, whose ANC went on to win a resounding victory.

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