Cope confusion over new party

2011-01-23 22:44

Johannesburg - The suspension of Cope co-founder Mbhazima Shilowa by the party's former leadership structure on Sunday raised questions over whether a new party was formed.

Shilowa spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said co-founder Mosiuoa Lekota was being investigated by them because his faction may constitute a new political party.

"The office of the general secretary Nikwe Num will investigate whether or not the newly constituted structure as announced does not constitute a new political party," he said in a statement.

Num is a aligned to Shilowa.

"Cope would like to point out that Lekota is no longer a member of Cope's National Committee nor is he a president," said Ngwema.

The investigation would also decide whether Lekota should be removed as Cope's leader in Parliament, he said.

Head bashing and internal squabbles within the Congress of the People reached boiling point on Sunday, a day after the Lekota faction suspended Shilowa and several others.

Tickle each other's fancy

Ngwema said the suspension meant nothing to Shilowa because the meeting was not officially sanctioned.

"Yesterday's meeting was a gathering of friends who occasionally like to tickle each other's fancy by claiming that they have authority or standing in the organisation," said Ngwema.

"The gathering of people are supporters of Mosiuoa Lekota and that meeting was not an official meeting of the party."

Lekota's spokesperson Phillip Dexter claimed the meeting in Kempton Park on Saturday was a sitting Cope's national committee (CNC).

He said the Shilowa faction was "being childish" by not accepting their suspensions.

"The only people who can sanction a CNC is the CNC itself."

He warned that if Shilowa and his faction ignored the suspension they would have to face the consequences.

Abusing positions

Dexter said the suspended members faced charges relating to impersonating leadership, sabotage of its National Elective Congress (NEC), undermining the constitution of the party, and abusing positions of leadership.

They would have to attend a disciplinary hearing, he said.

Those suspended included Mluleki George, Nikiwe Num, Zale Madonsela, Ebrahim Sawant, Archie Ralo, Malusi Booi, Sam Kwelitha, Mbulelo Ncedane, Moegamet Majiet, Sam Kwelitha, Lolo Mashiane, Nozipho Didiza Ndlela and Ngwema.

Both Dexter and Ngwema could not confirm reports that Shilowa follower deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka resigned ahead of Saturday's meeting.

The ANC-breakaway party has been plagued by a power struggle between Lekota and Shilowa with both of them claiming to be the legitimate party president.

According to the Lekota faction, Cope's chaotic NEC was abandoned due to violence and disruptions.

The Shilowa camp however claims the conference held a legitimate election and that it was appointed as the new leadership of the party.

- SAPA

Read more on:    cope  |  mbhazima shilowa  |  mosiuoa lekota  |  politics
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