South Africa's largest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), said it would merge with a smaller party in the hope their new alliance would capitalise on growing frustrations with the ruling ANC over crime and the provision of education, healthcare and electricity.
The DA leader, Helen Zille, said the alliance would invite other opposition parties to join, hoping to score the majority in the next vote.
"This event must merely be seen as the first step in the important task of consolidating the opposition and offering voters a true alternative government," Patricia de Lille, the leader of the Independent Democrats (ID), said. The DA received nearly 17 per cent of the vote in the last election nationally, behind the ANC which won overwhelmingly with 66 per cent. The ID won less than 1 per cent.