Opposition explores ways to co-operate

2012-12-21 00:00

NEXT year will see opposition parties move to adopt a “two heads is better than one” approach.

This after leaders of most of South Africa’s minority parties agreed to study a set of recommendations that seek to bring about governance changes in the country’s political dynamics, party leaders said this week.

Mosiua Lekota, Congress of the People (Cope) president, told The Witness yesterday that a meeting held by opposition parties in Johannesburg on Friday, which he chaired, explored ways to co-operate beyond Parliament.

The discussion centred on the grounds on which the parties would co-operate and the form the co-operation would take.

Lekota made it clear there would be no coalition. Instead, the parties would focus on co-operation because “coalitions often go beyond elections and deal with issues at a governance level”.

Most of the parties involved were not in a position to consider a coalition and each party had to retain its identity because it had its own constituency, said Lekota.

Among the parties at the meeting were the Democratic Alliance, Freedom Front Plus, United Democratic Movement the and Azanian Peoples Organisation (Azapo).

The opposition parties had met in September to discuss the formation of a coalition against corruption.

The parties rejected the DA’s call for dual membership and a possible single political party to take on the ANC on the basis that they would fall apart if they were abandoned by their constituencies and if the reasons for unification were lost, said Lekota.

The final recommendations were sent to other opposition party leaders on Friday, and a follow-up meeting will take place on January 28, when leaders of opposition parties will come with mandated positions on some of the issues.

Some of the recommendations are that the Constitution should be preserved as is with no amendments and that people’s rights must be protected according to the recommendations.

Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said the meeting had decided that co-operation would aggressively address the loss of confidence in the Presidency after the Marikana massacre that rocked the mining industry in August, leaving more than 40 people dead.

Buthelezi said he had written to President Jacob Zuma explaining in detail why he had lost confidence in him.

Kenneth Meshoe, the president of the African Christian Democratic Party, said the recommendations were for co-operation on specific issues, such as corruption, but he conceded that the engagement between the parties was a positive sign.

“It makes sense to work together towards a common goal,” he said.

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