The storm is over - Cope

2013-10-18 18:03

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Johannesburg - Cope North West has welcomed Friday's South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg ruling naming Mosiuoa Lekota as the party's president.

"We [are] now certain that the storm is over and we have only one Cope in South Africa under the stewardship of Lekota, therefore once again [we] recommit to our founding principles of 2008," said Congress of the People (Cope) acting provincial secretary Rammupudu Mooketsi.

He apologised to the party's members and thanked them for their support.

"We... apologise to our members, supporters and everybody who looks with hope upon us for the disappointment they endured because of this matter," he said.

The party's youth movement also welcomed the ruling.

"This long-awaited judgment finally brings to an end the most painful period for Cope, its leadership, members and supporters across the country," said Cope Youth Movement leader Nqaba Bhanga.

Cope’s leadership battle

Earlier on Friday, Cope spokesperson JJ Abrie said acting Judge Craig Watt-Pringle had ruled that Cope's leadership, led by Lekota, and elected during its inaugural congress in Bloemfontein in 2008 was the party's only legitimate leadership.

"The ruling further confirms the conclusion of [Cope] that the aborted first national congress of December 2010... in Thaba Tshwane was not quorate and, therefore, did not happen, let alone elect new leadership of the party," he said.

The leadership battle started when Lekota expelled Mbhazima Shilowa from the party after an internal disciplinary hearing found him guilty of mismanaging the party's parliamentary funds. Shilowa had refused to participate in the inquiry.

On 18 July 2012, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria struck from the roll an application by a Cope faction aligned to Shilowa to stop disciplinary hearings against Cope members pending the outcome of the Shilowa-Lekota leadership dispute.

In February 2011, Lekota obtained an interim court order recognising him as the party's president and restraining Shilowa from claiming the title of party leader.

Read more on:    cope  |  mbhazima shilowa  |  mosiuoa lekota  |  johannesburg  |  politics

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