Opposition parties in alliance talks

TEN years since leaders of South Africa's main opposition parties first mooted the idea of forming an alliance against the ANC, new talks have formalised the debate.

The discussion dates back to 1999 when UDM leader Bantu Holomisa, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, DA leader Tony Leon and New National Party leader Marthinus van Schalkwyk met in Cape Town to discuss the formation of an alliance of opposition parties.

Though the local government elections are some 18 months away, opposition parties including the DA, UDM and Cope have initiated talks to form a political bulwark against the ANC.

City Press reported yesterday that the parties have formalised the debate with the first show of force expected to emerge in the 2011 local government elections.

Previous anti-ANC campaigns included Leon's "Fight Back", which was rejected by black voters, and new DA leader Helen Zille's "Stop Zuma" campaign ahead of the April 22 elections.

Zille told her party's congress in Mpumalanga at the weekend that a new "political vehicle" was needed to challenge the ANC's dominance.

Cope spokesperson Philip Dexter said: "We believe the ongoing nationwide service delivery protests are a chink in the ANC's armour and we want to provide a platform that will give political direction to these protests."

For the first time since 1994 ANC support in the national general elections dropped in all provinces except KwaZulu-Natal.