DA and ID announce a slow-mo build-up to a consolidated opposition

By Andy Rice 15 August 2010

Thanks to prohibitions on outright party mergers, the Democratic Alliance will be swallowing the Independent Democrats in stages. The operational machinery goes in straight away. Then, after municipal elections next year, all its local government councillors, and finally, after the general elections in 2014, all its MPs. At which point along that timeline will we know what Patricia de Lille will be doing? That we don't know. Yet.

As of Sunday afternoon, Patricia de Lille and other senior ID leaders are also (ordinary) members of the DA, in terms of cross agreements that allow for dual party membership. The parties will immediately start holding joint caucuses, and have a sort of non-compete agreement that comes into effect right away.

But it won’t be until 2014 that the Democratic Alliance will be taking over all the ID’s assets and liabilities, in both the economic and political senses.

The lack of details on the mechanics of the merger points to considerable haste, which both Helen Zille and Patricia de Lille are happy to cop to. South Africa is suffering under the ANC yoke, they said, and the time to start building a better alternative is right away.

Photo: Helen Zille signs the memorandum of understanding between DA and ID. (The Daily Maverick)

Perhaps the most glaring omission is what, exactly, De Lille will be doing in this new dispensation. De Lille had refused to have negotiations revolve around her own position, Zille said, so it still needs to be decided what office she’ll hold. Although it will, Zille promised, be commensurate with her political standing and strong personal brand.

The same holds true for other ID leaders. In terms of the memorandum of understanding between the parties, “the DA will co-opt an appropriate number of dual members or former members” onto all its national, provincial and local structures. What constitutes an appropriate number? That will differ from structure to structure, the DA says. But, notably, there is no formula to determine the mix, no counting of relative voting strength, at least none that has been made public.

The only reflection of the relative importance of the ID is in the composition of a joint financial oversight body, which will have four DA members and two ID members. That body will be responsible for checking that each party contributes “to the political goals and objectives” of the federal DA executive, and seems the most likely place for war to break out if there should be one.

But it may be telling that De Lille took the lead in explaining the next move to strengthen the opposition: Opening serious negotiations with Cope and the UDM, with a view to including them in the new alliance, presumably before local elections next year. Because, as each leader sought to emphasise several times, “if we build it, they will vote for it”.

By Phillip de Wet

Main photo: The Kempton Park announcement was all energy and smiles. (The Daily Maverick)

Read more: Memorandum of Understanding between DA and ID, in full:


Entered into between


(hereinafter “the DA”)



(hereinafter “the ID”)


WHEREAS the ID and the DA share a common dream that the Republic of South Africa has the people, resources and the determination to become a great and successful nation, at peace with itself and the world;

AND WHEREAS both the ID and the DA are deeply concerned about the governance and service delivery failure at many levels, and the increasing inequality, crime, corruption and cronyism which deprive all South African citizens of the opportunity to achieve this dream;

AND WHEREAS both the ID and the DA recognise the urgent need of bringing about a fundamental realignment of South African politics, as the starting point of achieving this dream.


1.    The ID will phase out its activities as a separate organisation in a coordinated fashion up and until the National and Provincial Elections in 2014, and its members will join the DA, in the manner laid out in this MOU.

2.    As at the 2014 Elections all remaining dual members of the ID and DA will become members of the DA only, and all assets and liabilities of the ID will, subject to clause 9, become assets and liabilities of the DA.

3.    The National Executive Committee of the ID has agreed that all ID public representatives must become members of the DA, in addition to being members of the ID while the Federal Council of the DA has agreed (a) to accept ID public representatives as members of the DA, and (b) to allow such public representatives of the ID to hold dual membership of the DA. ID municipal councillors may hold dual membership until the date of the municipal elections in 2011, and ID MPs and MPLs may hold dual membership until the date of the national and provincial elections in 2014.

4.    Dual members may be subjected to disciplinary proceedings by either or both parties in terms of their respective Constitutions and the Codes of Conduct.

5.    The ID and the DA agree that the ID and DA public representatives will hold joint caucuses in whichever legislature or council they serve.

6.    The DA and the ID agree that all members of the ID who wish to become members of the DA must apply on or before 30 September 2010. It is hereby agreed that the DA will delay the holding of any applicable branch and regional AGMs until after 30 September 2010 in order to allow such members to participate in these AGMs.

7.    The ID herewith agrees that it will not select candidates to stand in by-elections, or campaign independently from the DA.

8.    The ID and the DA herewith agree that the DA will co-opt an appropriate number of dual members or former members of the ID onto the DA National Management Committee, the Federal Executive, the Federal Council, Provincial Executives and Provincial Councils. The number of such co-opted members will be determined by agreement between the Leader of the DA and the Leader of the ID.

9.    The ID and the DA herewith agree to establish a financial oversight structure, consisting of four members of the DA and two dual or former members of the ID. This oversight structure will:

  • Conduct a due diligence audit of the assets and liabilities;
  • Ensure that neither party engages in reckless or unauthorised expenditure, and that expenditure takes place
  • against budget;
  • Ensure that both parties comply with the law relating to financial reporting and to the auditing of state funds;
  • Harmonise the budgets of the DA and ID to ensure that both contribute to the political goals and objectives
  • established by the Federal Executive of the DA;
  • Receive monthly management accounts relating to expenditure and receipts by both parties.

Should any member of the financial oversight structure have concerns that are not adequately addressed by the structure, he or she must report the matter to the Leader of the DA and the Leader of the ID, who must raise the matter at the NMC or the Federal Executive.

10.    All ID public representatives seeking re-elections will be subject to the procedure that has been agreed to by the ID and the DA. The Leader of the ID may, in individually meritorious cases, make representations on behalf of such public representatives to the selection panel and/or the relevant executive.

11. Employees of the ID will be integrated into the DA operational structures. The ID Secretary General will liaise with the CEO of the DA to manage this integration process. No employee of the ID will lose his or her employment as a result of this MOU. The state funds allocated to the ID will be used to cover the staff costs of its employees.



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