Democratic Alliance to absorb Independent Democrats

15 August 2010 - 16:18
By Times LIVE, Khetiwe Chelemu and Reuters

The Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Independent Democrats (ID) say they will merge to form a stronger opposition.

DA leader Helen Zille says: "The Federal Council of the DA and the National Executive Committee of the ID have ratified a memorandum of understanding, paving the way for complete integration by 2014."

She says "In terms of the memorandum:

-The DA will accept ID public representatives as members of the DA. ID councillors will be entitled to hold dual membership until the local government elections due to be held next year. ID Members of Parliament and Members of Provincial Legislatures will be entitled to hold dual membership until the general election to be held in 2014.

-The DA and the ID will hold joint caucuses in the councils and legislatures where both parties are represented. The DA and the ID will not compete against each other in by-elections or campaign independently of each other.

-An appropriate number of ID members in leadership positions will join the highest decision-making bodies of the DA - the National Management Committee, the Federal Executive and the Federal Council.

-Employees of the ID will be integrated into the DA's operational structures."

ID leader Patricia de Lille took a DA membership at the event, attended by the leadership of the two parties.

De Lille says questions can rightfully be asked as to who really is the party of the poor in South Africa, because although she has not compromised on her ideals, she has seen too many of her former comrades making a mockery of the values of the struggle.

"The time has come to call an end to this charade. Make no mistake, in this marriage we may sometimes differ, but we will engage with the intention of building a strong political vehicle that can drive forward the much-needed change in South Africa."

De Lille says: "Where Government needs to be kicked out of its political comfort zones we will do it, because South Africa is not in a comfort zone and our people are requiring bold political leadership."

"We therefore look forward to this next stage in our country's democracy and we feel proud that we are part of building an alternative political future."

There are also plans by the merged parties to engage in talks with Cope and the UDM