Cope to rebrand itself
Johannesburg - The troubled opposition party, Cope, would re-brand itself ahead of local government elections, said co-founder Mbhazima Shilowa's spokesperson on Saturday.
In an "official statement by the newly election Congress National Committee (CNC) of Cope", spokesperson Sipho Ngwema, who is aligned to Shilowa, said the "70-member leadership collective" decided to start focusing on local government elections.
The party would announce that "there is no split" in the Congress of the People, which has been marred by in-fighting since its launch in December 2008.
A bitter leadership battle between Shilowa and co-founder Mosiuoa Lekota has dominated headlines about the African National Congress breakaway group.
However Ngwema said the CNC had decided at a meeting in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, on Friday that the party needed to move on.
"There's no confusion. There's no split. There's only one CNC which is the highest decision making body of Cope between congresses," said Ngwema.
Its "immediate short-term programme of action" included to "repackage the Cope brand [and] prepare for the coming local government elections".
It would also "look into the performance of Cope in Parliament" and "remodel" its operations in Parliament and provincial legislatures "where necessary".
"Furthermore, the meeting decided to postpone the election of the rest of the CWC (Congress Working Committee) members pending the strategy planning session which will inform our way forward," added Ngwema.
Cope failed to elect a leader at what should have been its elective congress in Pretoria in December, after members of the Shilowa and Lekota factions disrupted proceedings.
The conference collapsed in a deadlock, with both factions claiming victory.