In South Africa, another opposition party

JOHANNESBURG — Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, a longtime anti-apartheid activist, announced the creation of a political party Monday, lambasting the 101-year-old African National Congress of Nelson Mandela for corruption and power abuse.

Ramphele told a news conference that her party will contest the 2014 elections, campaign ‘‘from village to village,’’ and serve millions of South Africans ‘‘who have confirmed a hunger for a new beginning.’’

The 65-year-old medical doctor was a cofounder of South Africa’s Black Conscious Movement. She was close to activist Steve Biko before he was assassinated and has a son with him.


Her party joins several in the opposition at a time when South Africa is burdened by a growing chasm between rich and poor, as well as massive unemployment and increasingly violent protests against job losses, utility shortages, and an education and health system in crisis.

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She said Monday she was appalled to learn that 71 percent of South Africans between the ages of 15 to 38 are unemployed. That group, she said, makes up 60 percent of the population.

Ramphele, among four people appointed managing directors of The World Bank in 2000, has what South Africans call ‘‘struggle credentials.’’

She spent seven years under house arrest enforced by the white-minority apartheid regime in the 1970s, and she used her expulsion to a remote rural area to start a health program and empower women through initiatives such as small-scale farming.

But analysts say they don’t know what she will bring to the political table, noting that her criticisms of the ANC are no different from those of other opposition leaders and that she has no grass-roots support and is not well-known. The ANC party that fought to end apartheid has won resounding victories at past elections.

Associated Press