Cope gives itself a pat on the back

2011-05-23 06:49

Pretoria - Cope gave itself a pat on the back on Thursday and said it appreciated every single vote it got considering the problems it has had since its formation, leader Mosiuoa Lekota said in Pretoria.

"Whatever numbers we have, we appreciate it. We have shown our presence in all the provinces and have left our footprint," he said at the Independent Electoral Commission’s results centre.

"We are quite happy about being the third strongest party nationally so far.

"We didn’t expect it, because people told us before the election that we are finished."

A limping Lekota, wearing a purple striped T-shirt and black trousers, said an additional 111 public representatives meant the party’s profile would be raised.

"We will be kingmakers. I think we have done very, very well. I give us a pat on the back," he said.

He said reported political violence that had erupted in the run-up to the election was not as bad as in 2009.

"Some parties behaved badly this year, but in any election there will always be instances like that."

He said the high number of spoilt votes recorded was a huge setback.

"But this also raises a lot of questions. You know we heard many disabled and blind people complaining that they didn’t get the assistance they thought they would get at voting stations. Who knows if any fraud could have taken place?" Lekota asked.

He strode into the centre earlier shaking hands and hugging people who recognised him.

Cope spokesperson Thetjeng Motlatjo said the announcement by the party’s former co-founder Mbhazima Shilowa that he would not be voting had been a strategy.

"We have to ask why he announced that? He tried to compromise our organisation for his own interests. It was a strategy to give us bad publicity."

Lekota was once chairperson of the ANC and in a sequence of events, which included him complaining about offensive language on party T-shirts and being booed at the party's last elective conference, his association with that party came to an abrupt end in 2008.

He, the former Gauteng premier and deputy defence minister Mluleki George left the ANC to form Congress of the People and in a blaze of glory gained 30 seats in Parliament in the national elections of 2009.

A series of court challenges and counter court challenges between Lekota and Shilowa overshadowed any other communication from the party and finally, Shilowa was expelled by a court order in February.

Shilowa has since challenged Lekota's presidency, said he would not vote in this election and hoped other Cope supporters would "isolate" Lekota.

In a statement commenting on the gains Cope had made in its first local government election, its head of elections Ndzipo Kalipo said the party expected to secure at least six percent of council seats.

According to IEC results, based on 72% of the votes having been captured and verified, Cope had 2.5% of the vote nationally at 14:41.

- SAPA
Read more on:    cope  |  mbhazima shilowa  |  mosiuoa le­kota  |  elections
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