Shilowa is being 'childish'
Johannesburg - Cope co-founder Mbazima Shilowa and his followers were "being childish" by not accepting their suspensions, a spokesperson in the party's opposing faction said on Sunday.
"What Mr Shilowa and those around him are doing is childish," said Phillip Dexter, spokesperson for Cope's apparent leader Mosiuoa Lekota.
He was responding to comments made by the Shilowa camp that the decision taken at a meeting on Saturday to suspend members was not officially sanctioned.
"Yesterday's gathering of people are supporters of Mosiuoa Lekota and that meeting was not an official meeting of the party," Shilowa's spokesperson Sipho Ngwema told Sapa earlier.
"So their pronouncements have got nothing to do with Cope. Those people are the very same people who claimed to have suspended Mbhazima last year."
Dexter claimed the gathering in Kempton Park was a sitting Cope's national committee (CNC).
"The only people who can sanction a CNC is the CNC itself."
He warned that if Shilowa and his faction ignored the suspension they would have to face the consequences.
"If he ignores the suspension he will not have an opportunity to give his side of the story (at the party's disciplinary hearing)," said Dexter.
He said several party members were suspended and faced charges relating to impersonating leadership, sabotage of its National Elective Congress (NEC), undermining the constitution of the party, and abusing positions of leadership.
Others suspended at the meeting included Mluleki George, Nikiwe Num, Zale Madonsela, Ebrahim Sawant, Archie Ralo, Malusi Booi, Sam Kwelitha, Mbulelo Ncedane, Moegamet Majiet, Sam Kwelitha, Lolo Mashiane, Nozipho Didiza Ndlela and Ngwema.
The ANC-breakaway party has been plagued by a power struggle between Lekota and Shilowa.
Dexter could not confirm reports that Cope deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka quit the party on Saturday.
"We have not received a resignation letter from her."
He said the party had phoned her and other CNC members on Saturday to check if they were still members of the decision making body and that they would attend the meeting held in Kempton Park.
Mlambo-Ngcuka did not send a "confirmation" whether she was still a member of the CNC.
The ANC-breakaway party has been plagued by a power struggle between Lekota and Shilowa with both of them claiming to be the legitimate party president.
According to the Lekota faction, Cope's chaotic NEC was abandoned due to violence and disruptions.
The Shilowa camp however claims the conference held a legitimate election and that it was appointed as the new leadership of the party.