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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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