Start of Cope conference delayed

2010-12-16 14:08

Johannesburg - Cope's elective conference had not started on Thursday morning, apparently due to problems with registering delegates, the SABC reported.

The event, which was meant to have started on Wednesday, was halted by the illegal pre-loading of delegates' names onto a database for the conference, the party's deputy president Mbhazima Shilowa told the broadcaster.

The conference, if it got underway, would pit Shilowa against party leader Mosiuoa Lekota. It would be the organisation's first elective conference.

Amid speculation of a divorce within the party, members had to change the registration spot on Wednesday because the Pretoria facility had been booked for a wedding.

Congress of the People spokesperson Philip Dexter said: "We had booked this venue for the day. They have a wedding, but didn't know there would be so many people, so we are moving to the hall."

The party has had a stormy time since its formation in 2008.

Coming out of a breakaway from the ANC by veterans Mosiuoa Lekota, Mbhazima Shilowa and Mluleki George, it did relatively well in the elections the following year, in spite of the last minute re-defection to the ANC of its election strategist.

Since then it appeared to have been troubled by leadership disagreements between Lekota and Shilowa, some of which played out in court and Parliament and have included hints at financial impropriety.

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

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