Opposition unites against ANC
Philda Essop, Die Burger
Cape Town - A "definite" feeling of optimism reigns among the opposition about the possibility of a united front against the ANC, which may already be formed ahead of next year's municipal election.
The planned alignment of four opposition parties - the DA, ID, Cope and UDM - was described by DA leader Helen Zille as a "key moment" in South African political history.
She said on Monday the plan was still new and would now be discussed in DA circles. "We are already working with the ID and we all realise that it has to be taken a step up in view of the municipal election in 2011 and the national election in 2014."
"I am optimistic that the opposition will grow - it is about parties having a consistent policy, which may be realised in practice. We want to take it slowly, but there is definitely a feeling of optimism," she said.
ID leader Patricia de Lille said the protests against poor service delivery and President Jacob Zuma's behaviour had made the country realise that the opposition had to stand together, but she was not naïve enough to think there wouldn't be obstacles.
It is still not clear exactly how the opposition parties will work together, she said. "I am not sure if it will be an alliance, coalition or working agreement."
All the opposition members at the ID congress had accepted the plan in principle and would now take it to their respective congresses to sound out their members.
An ID source expressed hope about what the united leaders could achieve. "I got goose bumps when all the leaders appeared on the stage together. You immediately realise you can in this way get maximum support in 2011 (the municipal election). You can mobilise a lot of people."
Cope spokesperson Philip Dexter said the party had already got a mandate to talk to other parties. "The question was how we would go into the municipal election".
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said the matter would be discussed this weekend by the party's executive committee.