19 COPE members unemployable: party

By Drum Digital
28 April 2014

The 19 ex-COPE members who have joined the ANC are unemployable says Cope's Johann Abrie.

Most of the 19 people on the Congress of the People list who have come out on Monday in support of the ANC are unemployable outside politics, Cope national spokesman Johann Abrie said.

"Most of the people on the list of 19 are unemployable outside of politics so they decided to knock on the door of another political party because they came to the end of their employment at Cope," he told Sapa.

"They were very, very happy to continue to collect huge salaries based on their association to Cope and waited until the last week to change --that speaks volumes about the character of those people."

Abrie was responding to a media release on Monday from 19 Cope members throwing their weight behind the African National Congress. He speaks on behalf of the faction aligned with Mosiuoa Lekota after Lekota and co-founder of Cope Mbhazima Shilowa fell out over a leadership dispute. In a statement the members said the Cope caucus, who met on Monday in Parliament, apologised to the 1.3 million people who voted for the party in the 2009 national elections.

"Due to a series of events and trends over the past five years, we have to accept that COPE as a credible alternative has run its course," the statement read.

"Eighty percent of the Cope Parliamentary Caucus has not submitted their nominations for Cope's 2014 election list processes. We could not align ourselves with the poor political leadership and cannot continue to mislead South Africans about a prospect for anything better."

The members would remain Cope Members of Parliament until midnight May 6, when their term in office end.

They said they believe the ANC was the "most effective vehicle" to bring about change and transformation in the lives of the poor.

"In honour of the late Tata Madiba, the majority of the Cope Caucus will vote and campaign for a strong mandate for the ANC to ensure that the agenda for a better life for all South Africans will gain new momentum.

"We call on those who support us and all South African voters to vote ANC to give new impetus to the transformation agenda and to build a united, prosperous nation," the statement read.

The list of names on the statement are Suzan Berend, Onel de Beer, Beryl Ferguson, Nonkhululeko Gcume, Juli Kilian, Nick Koornhof, Mampe Kotsi, Commissioner Makhubela, Lorraine Mashiane, Pakiso Mbhele, Paul Mnguni, Zola Mlenzana, Connie Mosimane, Hilda Ndude, Mlindi Nhanha, Phumelelo Ntshiqela, Sanna Plaatjies, Leonard Ramatlakane and Kennett Sinclair.

However, Abrie said half of the people on the list have not renewed their membership with the party for over three years therefore they could not be chosen as Cope candidates for Parliament.

He claimed the other half were called to the ANC headquarters Luthuli House and were made "generous financial offers".

"They milk the cow for as long as they can and then defect just before the elections. It is tacky and unprincipled."

Abrie claimed this was the sixth or seventh time in two weeks that this same group of people resigned.

Earlier in April Shilowa said he would support the United Democratic Movement in the run up to elections.

They party was formed when senior ANC members left the party when former president Thabo Mbeki was forced to step down in a power struggle with Jacob Zuma over head of the governing party.

In the first election it contested in 2009, it had enough support for 30 seats in Parliament.

Its presidential candidate Mvume Dandala resigned afterwards and not long after, the party split into factions over who its true president was.

Lekota was a minister of defence and a chairman of the ANC and Shilowa had been a premier of Gauteng before the breakaway.

-SAPA

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