Cope's big guns visit coast

2011-05-16 00:00

POLITICIANS and dignitaries descended on the usually quiet South Coast in the run-up to the local government elections scheduled for Wednesday.

Congress of the People (Cope) leader Mosiuoa Lekota arrived in a private plane at Port Edward and attended church meetings and rallies in the neighbouring rural areas to garner support for what many consider to be a party losing ground.

Cope MP Graham Mackenzie deemed the “meet-and-greet” arrangement an outstanding success.

“Scores of people were very enthusiastic to meet our president and are very excited about the upcoming elections, where they will put their mark next to Cope.”

The party then flew to Matatiale where they paid their respects to King Goodwill Zwelethini and returned to Margate last night to meet business leaders.

Party spokesperson the Reverend Nomhle Mahlawe said that the fact that Cope has contested municipalities nationally proves that it is in fact a solid and a real contender.

“Here on the South Coast there is a bridge Cope wants to build to merge the disadvantaged rural areas with the wealthy urban areas. The differences are staggering, and we hope to bring some kind of consistency to the area,” she said.

“Our campaign will focus on the rural areas, where we believe people have been short-changed for the longest time, but not neglect areas such as Port Shepstone and Margate where people are mostly open to the idea of everyone benefiting from a solid economy.”

Mahlawe stressed the importance of healthy competition for the ruling party: “The ANC needs to be called to order, and for opposition such as ours it is imperative to do so. When one looks at service delivery of the African National Congress, there is a lot to be desired, and not to mention the childish utterances of certain individuals,” she said in reference to ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

She condemned Malema’s utterances that white people are criminals who stole land and that the land should be taken back by any means.

“We must consider Malema comes from a disadvantaged background and he is trying to overcompensate for past presidents’ failures. Negotiations are the only way forward — farm and mine owners should approach government to discuss issues. There should be no such thing as land grabbing,” she said.

In an interview with The Witness last week, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe shrugged off Malema’s controversial statements as impulsive.

“The decided policy of the African National Congress is the united, democratic, non-racist, non-sexist, prosperous South Africa,” he said.

“Because of freedom of expression, people’s ideas and thoughts can only be known once they have been spoken. If you watch his body language, he would say these things and ramble and ramble. When he sits down, he is already thinking how he will have to explain his way away.”

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