Cope court showdown postponed

2011-08-22 14:08
Johannesburg - The South Gauteng High Court postponed the Cope leadership battle between Mosiuoa Lekota and Mbhazima Shilowa to Tuesday to give new counsel time to prepare.

"The judge agreed in chambers that the matter will be heard tomorrow at 10:00," Shilowa told people in the public gallery on Monday.

This was because Lekota's counsel was sick, the gallery was told.

Earlier Shilowa suggested the Congress of the People (Cope) co-founder was stalling.

"We are ready to go ahead but he wants a postponement."

Shilowa said his team had been told that counsel for Lekota had been ill since August 12. The Shilowa team, however, had been informed of this only last Thursday (August 18).

Leadership battle

On Monday Shilowa intended challenging an interim order granted to Lekota in February preventing Shilowa from calling himself the party's president or a member.

The ruling effectively stopped him from participating in the party's politics. Shilowa also lost his job in Parliament.

This was a far cry from the show of unity that Shilowa, a former Gauteng premier, and Lekota, a former minister of defence, displayed when they broke away from the ruling ANC in 2008.

The two and deputy defence minister Mluleki George were among a group who broke away from the ruling party, saying the African National Congress had lost touch with its core values, after former president Thabo Mbeki lost the party presidency to Jacob Zuma in Polokwane.

In contrast to Cope's launch conference in December 2008, attended by thousands of people, there were fewer than 30 people in the public gallery to witness Monday's proceedings.

Lekota was not at the hearing.

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