DA-COPE COALITION SOON

The Democratic Alliance has confessed it is more interested in a coalition with the Congress of the People than being part of a coalition with smaller opposition parties.

The Democratic Alliance has confessed it is more interested in a coalition with the Congress of the People than being part of a coalition with smaller opposition parties.

DA parliamentary chief whip Ian Davidson said the party's failed coalition with the now-defunct New National Party taught the DA lifelong lessons.

"We learnt a very big lesson when we did business with the New National Party," Davidson said. "Though we had set up a system of values for our coalition, we ended up taking Enos for the next seven years because of indigestion.

He said the party wanted to build a new majority and not to "gang up on" the ANC.

Davidson said the DA wanted cooperation with other smaller parties like the UDM, IFP and ID but it recognised that only Cope had the potential to become a strong national party, adding that a multiparty coalition was difficult to manage.

"There are only two parties outside the ANC that are national entities and that's ourselves and Cope.

"So it makes sense for these two national entities to talk to one another and find agreement on the big issues.

"Once you start opening it to a whole range of parties, that kind of coalition of minds becomes a whole lot more difficult because you are now dealing with a whole range of entities."

The DA and Cope coalition is already being worked on, with both parties having held media briefings and issued joint statements on various issues such as their opposition to the Cosatu-led campaign to ban labour brokers.

In a briefing with Sowetan, Davidson and DA parliamentary leader Athol Trollip said the DA was serious about being an alternative government.

"We are serious about multiparty democracy and we've done it in Cape Town with a coalition of seven parties." Trollip said.

"If you look at the split in votes in Parliament we are now 91 votes off government.

"We know we have a surmountable challenge and we want brand enhancement."

The two parties are however destined to clash over the DA's claim that it was a recognised ?national brand" while Cope was "not yet a brand".

"So we want to take our recognised brand and bring it together in a coherent way to get brand enhancement.

"This is not because we hate the ANC. We respect the ANC and don't want to gang up on it.

Cope spokesman Phillip Dexter said it was no longer a matter of "if" the coalition happened but "how" it was going to happen.

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