No discussion on split - Cope

2010-12-13 21:31

Johannesburg - There will be no formal discussion at Cope's elective conference about a split in the party, the Congress of the People said on Monday.

According to media reports last week Cope was set to discuss a formal "split" on Tuesday on the eve of its fourth attempt to hold an elective congress.

The party's spokesperson Philip Dexter denied the reports.

Dexter told Sapa on Monday that there was not going to be any formal discussion about a split.

"If people want to split from the party they will do it, but it won't be entertained as a formal proposal."

He said the party was spending the next two days preparing for its conference.

Cope was scheduled to hold its first elective conference this week in Pretoria, two years after its founding conference in Bloemfontein.

The fledgling party was plunged into chaos shortly after the national election last year, with the battle for power between its president Mosiuoa Lekota and his deputy Mbhazima Shilowa reaching boiling point.

The party aborted an attempt to elect new leadership in May this year when Lekota obtained a court interdict to halt proceedings.

The court ordered the party to stop the congress and reconvene it in four months - a time period stipulated by Lekota.

A waiver was signed in the event that the party needed more time to elect new leadership.

Cope's Northern Cape provincial secretary Fezile Kies in a statement on Monday said delegates from the province would be making their way to Pretoria on Tuesday for the conference.

She said the province was sending the fourth largest delegation in the country, with 244 voting branch delegates.

The province would be tabling a proposal on the idea of the internal campaigning system of Cope including "American-style" open campaigns for leadership and a set time period for campaigning aligned to national elections.

"We are fully behind the idea of "one member, one vote" and campaigns based on policies to benefit the country and the party.

"There should also be enforceable guidelines that encourage political tolerance, maturity and unity after the winning candidate is elected," Kies said.

She said the events leading up to this conference "should never have to be repeated" and that the province was opposed to suggestions that Cope should split.

"The primary goal for the Northern Cape...is for a united, progressive Cope to emerge from this national conference."

- SAPA

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