Cope announces date for first provincial conference

2010-03-03 12:12

After a nine-month gestation filled with leadership squabbles since

last year’s general election, the Congress of the People (COPE) has finally

announced a date for its first provincial elective conference, to be for the

Western Cape.

This follows the party’s inaugural conference in December 2008 when

it was stated that both its provincial and national election conferences had to

take place within two years.

In the meantime, leadership has been appointed rather than

democratically elected into office. But in a press conference at the provincial

legislature yesterday members of Cope’s interim provincial committee (CIPC)

revealed that May 8 and 9 had been marked for the provinces’ first conference to

elect provincial leaders.

This decision was taken following a successful provincial strategic

session over the past weekend.

Provincial secretary Mogamat Majiet said the party could now

proceed to “discussing issues around the building of the organisation, political

ideology, governance, 2011 local elections, communication and strategy for the


Majiet said democratically electing office bearers was “the only

way to build and unite the organisation” scarred by leadership battles over the

past months.

He said during this month, the CIPC would finalise the launching of

branches in order for branch and regional delegates, the women’s and youth forum

to vote in May.

He said a quorum of 200 branches was required for the provincial


The party was also setting up a political education desk to hold

workshops to produce “scouts” to recruit members in the various branches.

On the question of “working together” with the DA, a team would be

appointed to “make a proper risk evaluation and assessment” of the scope for

political cooperation between the parties.

But he warned there needed to be an understanding of the difference

between a merger and political cooperation.

Cope, however, could play a vital role in influencing the DA

through a cooperation since the DA had “no historical understanding of the

plight of our people”.

He said the CIPC believed an open and frank discussion was needed

between all political parties in the province to discuss the implications of the

provincial government’s philosophy of equal opportunity versus the reality of

inequality that was the heritage of the past.

Looking ahead, he said a task team would develop next year’s local

government election manifesto and develop guidelines on the selection of its


“We need to start the campaign from now and have a program of

action to target voters by embarking on door to door campaigns.”

Cope’s organisational head Yengwayo Kutta said “like any other

political party”, Cope had problems regarding “some member’s dissatisfaction

about the interim leadership”. This “put us in a difficult position to organise

ourselves”, he said.

He said the first branches to cast their votes for district leaders

would be the Metro and Boland branches on March 20 and 27 respectively.

– West

Cape News

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