Parties in merger bid

Eric Naki

Eric Naki

The ongoing campaign by the African People's Convention (APC) to explore the creation of an alternative to the ruling ANC is slowly coming to fruition after the party and the National Democratic Convention (Nadeco) reached an agreement to cooperate in future.

APC president Themba Godi last weekend led a delegation to talks in Durban with Nadeco, which was led by its president Hawu Mbatha.

Godi described the meeting as "a journey of a thousand miles that begins with the first step". The parties pledged to work together "to become the official opposition in 2009".

The two delegations held their first exploratory meeting on Sunday. The meeting set the stage for more talks to explore the possibility of "forming a formidable and viable opposition".

In a joint statement, the two parties said they agreed on the need for one South Africa; the need for a formidable and viable opposition; to establish joint caucuses in the national assembly, provincial legislatures and local councils; and to embark on a joint programme of action for the 2009 general elections.

The parties also agreed to form a three-a-side working committee under their respective chairmen to tackle issues of common interest.

Further meetings will be held bi-monthly. The first meeting is scheduled for early January.

Godi said both parties had accepted the need to fill a "shameful void" that has existed since 1994.

"The reality of our politics since 1994 is that there has been no credible, national, viable and progressive alternative to the ruling party," said Godi.

He said the APC and Nadeco had become credible and progressive because of their "history and orientation".

Godi said: "There is a need for a vibrant and progressive party to mobilise and rally the patriotic and progressive majority who are disaffected by the ruling ANC."

He said the three-aside committee would explore the forming of a party that was "steeped in the values and traditions of the liberation movement".