A GANG UNITED
NKULULEKO NCANA BANTU Holomisa’s United Democratic Movement (UDM) is teaming up with Mamphela Ramphele’s Agang SA in a bid to wrest the Eastern Cape, and other provinces, from the ANC.
The two will make their first public appearance together at a rally in Marikana next Friday.
This, according to party insiders, will be the first of many joint appearances leading up to next year s general election.
Insiders with intimate knowledge of the talks between Holomisa and Ramphele said the pair hoped to have coalition governments in several provinces.
People will see the start of more visible public appearances by the coalition as a result of the cooperation, said the insider.
The parties are also in discussions with Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota and his erstwhile adversary and the party s former deputy president, Mbhazima Shilowa.
Lekota and Shilowa are embroiled in a protracted court battle for the control of Cope.
Cope got 7.4 percent of the vote in the 2009 national election, but its support base has been crippled by the infighting.
Holomisa said Agang SA’s official launch as a political movement paved the way for formal talks over a coalition.
We have been in talks since May and it was agreed that we would formalise these discussions once they are a registered political party.
It is a great move for us because the discussions have been frank and primarily focused on delivering a better life for our people.”
He said Shilowa and Lekota had been approached to partner in the coalition, but… whether we can come together will be determined by the court process”.
Agang SA and the UDM are also in talks with other smaller parties to join the coalition, which, he said, would give them a greater opportunity to contest power in ANC and DA strongholds.
The last election results show that people are looking to vote for either of the two strongest parties. We are open to any party to come on board and if we can find a formula on how we can co-operate we could see a gradual shift of power in the political landscape, Holomisa said.
Talks with the DA had collapsed, he said.
The DA wanted everyone to take up dual membership a crazy situation because Robert Sobukwe would turn in his grave if any PAC member took up DA membership,” he said.
Holomisa said Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had not yet been invited, but he left the option open.
But Malema said the EFF was not interested in getting into a coalition.
We represent a constituency and as things stand we have no interest whatsoever in joining a coalition. It will not happen,” he said.
Agang SA spokesman Thabo Leshilo said the party was open to partnerships with like-minded parties.
He would not be pressed on the nature of the co-operation between Agang SA and the UDM.
Dr Ramphele is on record as saying that Agang wants a realignment of politics and that we are open to co-operation with like-minded parties that share our values, fundamentally, accountability in public office,” he said.
Coalition talks by the smaller opposition parties come amid preparations for the election by the ANC and the DA.
Opposition parties will be looking to capitalise on the infighting in the ANC-led alliance leading into the election next year.
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