Cope infighting continues

2010-05-20 14:43

Bitter infighting within the Congress of the People (Cope)

continued today with the party’s general secretary, Charlotte Lobe, accusing its

president, Mosiuoa Lekota, of trying to derail a national conference scheduled

for the end of May.

In a letter to Cope members, Lobe wrote that she would recommend

“stern action” against leaders who were turning the party’s congress national

committee (CNC) into “liars” and “bringing the organisation into


Lobe said: “As general secretary, I will have an obligation to

recommend stern action against leaders who are turning the entire CNC into liars

and bringing the organisation into disrepute.”

Lobe was “alarmed” at suggestions by some of the party’s senior

leaders “especially the president and the head of policy (Smuts Ngonyama)” that

the organisation is not ready for the conference.

“At a CNC meeting where the president chaired and Mr Ngonyama was

present, the Cope leadership unanimously gave a green light for the conference

to proceed without hindrance,” she said.

“The congress will ultimately have to pronounce on this kind of

ill-discipline of members of the leadership of Cope.

“The only conclusion we can arrive at is that this is a deliberate

ploy to disrupt preparations for the conference and defocus delegates who are

preparing themselves for this historic inaugural elective conference.”

Last month, Lekota publicly suggested that his deputy, Mbhazima

Shilowa, had mismanaged R20 million allocated to the party by Parliament. Lekota

later apologised to Shilowa for the outburst.

Lobe said Cope’s books were being audited at its head office and in

Parliament: “Both processes are going on very smoothly. In fact, the CNC has

already approved preliminary the treasurer’s report that will serve next week in

front of the congress.”

According to Lobe, 2 316 branches had passed a membership audit and

could send delegates to congress: “There is no basis for any new audit of our

membership and Cope rejects outright any calls for such an audit from whatever

quarters are being made.”

On Monday, the party’s Free State chapter claimed that less than

50% of the branches in all provinces, barring the Eastern Cape, were accredited

to attend. It also wanted a recount of its membership forms.

Branches in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Free State, Limpopo and the

Northern Cape were also reported to want the congress postponed.

According to an audit of Cope’s membership, the party has 74T631

members nationally, 2 052 of whom would participate in the congress.

The congress will be the party’s first elective conference. Its

current leadership was elected by consensus at a launch conference in

Bloemfontein in 2008. Cope obtained 30 seats in Parliament in the 2009 general


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