Court stops swearing in new Cope MP
Cape Town - Cope's Mbhazima Shilowa faction has temporarily prevented its rival Mosiuoa Lekota faction from filling Shilowa's seat in the National Assembly.
"Parliament was [on Tuesday] served with an interim interdict, minutes before National Assembly Speaker Mr Max Sisulu was scheduled to swear in new Congress of the People Member of Parliament Graham McIntosh," the institution said in a statement.
The interdict restrained Sisulu from swearing in any person nominated to fill the vacancy left by Shilowa's expulsion from Cope.
The interdict prevented filling the Cope vacancy until the finalisation of matters concerning Cope which were before the South Gauteng High Court and the Western Cape High Court.
The interim interdict, granted in the Western Cape High Court, was valid until March 31, after which it might become final.
"Parliament will respect the decision of the court," it said.
Cope Shilowa faction spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said in another statement that the Lekota faction "has purported to act for the organisation in various unlawful and unauthorised actions, forwarded the name of one Graham McIntosh to replace Shilowa as a member of the National Assembly".
This was done while all matters of leadership dispute were still pending.
"Surprisingly, Parliament seemed keen to proceed with the swearing in even though the matter had not been finalised and [as] such was in contravention of its own rules and undertakings," he said.
The interim order was another clear indication that the matter of the Cope leadership was still in dispute and the Lekota faction continued to "lie unashamedly to the public and itself", Ngwema said.
"Cope was keen to have the matter of [the] leadership dispute resolved once and for all last week in the Western Cape High Court, but the Lekota faction were happy for another delay and for the leadership confusion to continue," he said.