Opposition parties in talks
Cape Town - Eight opposition parties held another round of co-operation talks on Wednesday and formed a committee to consider ways on working together in Parliament, United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said.
Holomisa said his party, the DA, Cope, IFP, ID, FF Plus, ACDP and UCDP had agreed to meet on a regular basis to ensure "multi-party democracy is strengthened and the threat of one-party dominance averted".
He said they had set up a working group which included their chief whips to come up with proposals on how they could co-operate in Parliament, and had agreed on issues they would raise in a meeting with President Jacob Zuma on Thursday.
These include his nomination of Judge Sandile Ngcobo as chief justice, the Donen Commission's report on shady oil deals with Iraq's former regime, service delivery protests and the need for transparency on party funding.
Working toward merger
Sources close to the talks said the parties were tentatively working towards an eventual merger, but that the process would take a long time.
Opposition leaders met twice in July to discuss working together in the 2011 municipal elections and beyond.
This month, parties took a joint stance against Zuma's nomination of Ngcobo for chief justice, accusing him of undermining the Constitution by failing to consult properly with the opposition.
They also proposed Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke as an alternative candidate.
Commentators have been sceptical about their hopes of creating a united front against the ANC, warning that it would prove stillborn because of disagreement over substantive issues and that a clash of egos was inevitable.