Shilowa faction won't contest elections
Cape Town - Cope's Mbhazima Shilowa faction has decided not to campaign for the May 18 municipal elections alongside the party's Mosiuoa Lekota faction.
"[Congress of the People Shilowa faction] national leadership resolved to neither field candidates nor campaign in the local government elections...," Shilowa faction spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said on Tuesday.
He accused the Lekota faction of abusing a technical reprieve under which Independent Electoral Commission officially acknowledged a list of that faction's candidates.
Cope-Shilowa remained resolute that Lekota was not the elected leader of the party and that he therefore "has no mandate, nor should he purport to act on our behalf", said Ngwema.
He said Cope-Shilowa was not calling for a boycott of the elections and "we encourage our people to isolate the Lekota faction in these elections".
There was no "Lekota-sanctioned" candidate who could claim to do to the municipalities that which they could not do to the organisation.
'Lekota is divisive, undemocratic'
"There's no leader that has divided his organisation, nor led it to be in tatters that can claim to do better for South Africans that which he has dismally failed to do.
"Lekota is divisive and undemocratic and therefore cannot be entrusted with leadership.
"We urge our members to conduct themselves with honour and dignity in dispensing their rights as responsible voting citizens and put merit first in choosing their local representative.
"They must vote for the best candidates and distance themselves from Lekota's fraudulent frolics.
"In the meantime, we will focus all our efforts in regaining and salvaging our organisation.
"We will forge ahead with our members and craft a comprehensive political strategy and programme of action which will shape our future," Ngwema said.
In a statement later, Cope-Lekota faction elections head Ndzipho Kalipa welcomed the withdrawal of the "Shilowa-aligned dissidents" from the election.
"Our wards are now free and clear of candidates who had an agenda of destabilising Cope at all costs."
"We can now focus on our election campaign and deepen democracy at local level," he said.