IT HAS become a truism of our politics that nothing divides opposition parties like talk of unity - yet such talk does not cease and it is in fact necessary.
This is because to be effective any democracy has to be pluralistic. There is a nothing like having viable alternatives to keep those in power on their toes and acting in the best interests of those who elected them or risk being pushed out.
The ANC after Polokwane should understand this better than any other party.
They ought to know how power can corrupt those who start believing they have a divinely ordained right to rule.
It is on this basis that we welcome news that opposition political parties are talking about forming alliances to take on the ANC in the 2011 local government elections and beyond.
We hope these parties will not form an axis of hatred against the ANC. Alliances that have the sole goal of bringing a party or a person down seldom live long after achieving their goal.
Opposition parties will need a more enduring adhesive than their dislike for the ANC to keep them together .
The ANC should resist the temptation of dismissing such a formation as one necessarily driven by malice.
If it were honest with itself the emergence of an effective opposition could help the ANC rid itself of those who are in it for personal aggrandisement and leave the genuinely committed to creating a better life for all.
One other advantage of such an alliance is that it has the potential of bringing together some of the best political minds outside the ANC.