DA LEADER Helen Zille wants opposition parties to work together to prevent the ANC from winning a two-thirds majority at next year’s parliamentary election.
But she says the other opposition leaders are ‘‘lukewarm’’ about the idea of a political realignment as they are afraid of losing their “fiefdoms”.
Giving the CR Swart memorial lecture at the University of the Free State last night, Zille said her role was to realign politics to draw a line between parties that believe in constitutionalism and those that do not.
“In the medium term, as the consequences of the ANC’s assault on the constitution are felt more widely, the remarks I am making tonight will seem obvious. But unless we hear them and act on them now, it could be too late,” Zille said.
She repeated her call for a coalition of opposition parties “to offer hope to voters” ahead of the elections next year.
Zille said the response to her call from other opposition parties ‘‘has been limited”. One leader had even accused her of trying to get opposition parties to “gang up” against the ANC.
‘‘I was muted in my response to this statement because it is not appropriate for opposition parties, at this crucial juncture, to waste time and resources fighting each other. But I thought, at minimum, I had to point out how truly ludicrous it is to suggest that an attempt to curb the power of a party that already has a 74percent majority in parliament amounts to ‘ganging up’.
‘‘This kind of response demonstrates to me that, despite all that has happened, some parties still have not fathomed what the role of opposition is,”
Zille said she suspected ‘that the real reason for the lukewarm response was that the leaders of individual parties did not wish to abdicate their own fiefdoms.
This is probably the most sensible thing I have heard a politician say in the longest time.
I struggle, however, to warm up to Zille. I am not entirely sure why, but she doesn’t give me a warm, fuzzy feeling.
And I am not quite sure why it would be wrong for the opposition to ‘gang up’ against the ANC. When you have a ruling party that is very obviously bad for a country, but has a big majority, the only way the opposition can stand a chance is by ‘ganging up’, or joining forces.
If memory serves this old woman (*wink*) correctly, this was how the ANC gained such a large majority in the first place. Banding with another party. Oh, and that lovely fair practice of floor crossing.
We need a new face on this landscape, because currently, I am reminded of this Tom Petty song.