Cope conference off to shaky start

2010-12-16 10:08

Johannesburg - Amid speculation of a divorce within the party, Cope's elective conference had to change its registration spot on Wednesday because the Pretoria facility had been booked for a wedding.

Congress of the People spokesman Philip Dexter said: "We had booked this venue for the day. They have a wedding, but didn't know there would be so many people, so we are moving to the hall."

He said speeches would proceed on time as planned, regardless of whether everyone was registered by then.

The party has had a stormy time since its formation in 2008.

Coming out of a breakaway from the ANC by veterans Mosiuoa Lekota, Mbhazima Shilowa and Mluleki George, it did relatively well in the elections the following year, in spite of the last minute re-defection to the ANC of its election strategist.

Since then it appeared to have been troubled by leadership disagreements between Lekota and Shilowa, some of which played out in court and Parliament and have included hints at financial impropriety.

Wednesday's meeting in Pretoria would be the party's first elective conference.

The party aborted an attempt to elect new leadership in May this year when Lekota obtained a court interdict to halt proceedings.

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