|UDM on opposition alliances statement by Co-leaders of the UDM (29 April 1998)|
With possible alliance pacts between the opposition parties strongly back on the political agenda, certain basic principles regarding alliances need to be revisited. The mere forming of an alliance between the opposition parties (DP/NP, NP/IFP, DP/IFP or DP/NP/IFP) will not change the political landscape of the country. Such an alliance, whether it is a "loose alliance" (each party with its own structure and lists) or a more "formal alliance" (one manifesto and candidate list), it will not attract one single vote from the ANC constituency. All that it would mean is that one will pool all the current votes of opposition parties. That will not erode the power base of the ANC.
The UDM indicated even before its launch that it believes that South Africans are looking for something new, that all the current political parties as they are represented in parliament reflects in one way or the other apartheid. The UDM in working on grassroots level experience a need by South Africans to break loose from the current racial divides of South African politics. South Africans are looking towards the future, they need a vision, and they want to build this country. What is even more evident is the fact that they want to do this together, as one nation.
A recent Markinor survey indicated that the UDM is growing and that it is growing at the expense of the ANC majority. The UDM truly reflects the South African nation, 72% black, 16% white, 8% coloured and 4% Indian. Analysts indicated that they believe the only real threat to the ANC is the UDM. The UDM will gain nothing by getting into bed with any of the current opposition political parties.
The UDM, in national interest, would however invite opposition parties who are serious about the realignment of South African politics to disband themselves. This should take place at an opposition party convention where new leadership should be elected for the new formation. This should be done with all parties taking on an equal role and placing national interest first and personal or party agendas should not determine the agenda of such a convention.
The UDM, though the fastest growing party in the country, in the interest of the real realignment of South African politics, would be willing to be part of such an exercise. The UDM remains firm in its belief that that would be the only, lasting way to truly redefine South African politics.
Annelizé van Wyk
26 May 1998