Cope faction pondering way forward

2011-01-20 21:35

Johannesburg - Cope leaders aligned to co-founder Mosiuoa Lekota were on Thursday discussing the way forward after being locked out of the party headquarters, a spokesperson for the group said.

Phillip Dexter said the party's central working committee was meeting to discuss whether any action would be taken after security guards barred Lekota-allied members from entering Cope's new head office in Johannesburg.

The members were blocked after a faction of the party's youth movement attempted to hold a press briefing there on Wednesday.

Dexter said the move further advanced co-founder Mbhazima Shilowa's "undemocratic coup d'etat".

The ANC-breakaway party has been plagued by a power struggle between Lekota and Shilowa.

Both men currently claim to be the legitimate party president.

According to the Lekota faction, Cope's chaotic elective conference in December was abandoned due to violence and disruptions.

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

Cope acting general secretary Nikiwe Num on Wednesday said the leadership was "protecting Cope's property and the smooth running of the party" by hiring security guards to bar entry to to the headquarters to those wanting to cause "anarchy".

The Shilowa faction enlisted the services of the security guards after hearing about the media briefing which the youth movement faction attempted to host.

The briefing was eventually held in the foyer of the building, where youth secretary Abel Rangata blamed the ANC for the party's woes.

He said Shilowa was an ANC "mole" planted with the chief aim of destroying the fledgling opposition party.

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