Mamphela Ramphele

Mamphela Ramphele

The upcoming national elections are shaping up to be a milestone event for South Africa.

Mamphela Ramphele, the gay-affirming head of the Agang political party, has confirmed that she will stand as the DA’s Presidential Candidate for the 2014 elections.

She, together with DA leader Helen Zille, made the announcement at a news conference in Cape Town on Tuesday morning.

“I am honoured today to accept the invitation extended by the Democratic Alliance to stand as its Presidential Candidate for the 2014 elections,” she said.

“I believe this decision is in the best interests of South Africa as we head into turbulent waters. The death of Nelson Mandela has changed many things for South Africa. It has caused us to reflect on our journey over the last 20 years, on the progress we have made, and on the opportunities utilised and lost.

“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,” she said.

It remains unclear what the news means for Agang, which Ramphele formed in February 2013. The two parties have not officially announced a merger.

Mamphela (65) is a former anti-apartheid activist, a medical doctor, an academic and a successful businesswoman. She has been a vocal critic of the ANC government.

Ramphele has previously expressed her views on the issue of LGBT equality in an interview with the City Press newspaper last year.

“That we have homophobia today is a disgrace,” Ramphele said when asked about her take on homophobic violence and the rights of gay people.

“We have a formal system that protects everybody to express themselves,” she said. “But again we haven’t educated people to understand that being orientated sexually in a particular way is not a crime, is not a disease; it’s a not something you can cure.”

“It is how God created us,” Ramphele stated.

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