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A DECADE ago, the negotiations that culminated in a seven-party coalition government in the City of Cape Town constituted a turning point for the DA. It was that key bit of evidence and momentum the party needed to break the ANC’s almost universal grip on power; to begin from there to etch a picture of itself in the South African public’s mind as a serious national force for change.On the back of that arrangement, as the senior partner and with control over the mayoralty, the party was able to win the Western Cape in 2009 and consolidate its hold on the metro in 2011, both with an outright majority. In doing so, it could credibly reposition itself as a "party of government" and move away from the perception it operated solely from the opposition benches.But on the day — March 15 2006 — it was only by the smallest margin that the DA managed to bring together six other diverse minority parties and form a stable government. At several key moments during the two weeks that preceded the ...

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