Cope leaders snub party’s grievance meeting

2009-11-26 07:20

NATIONAL leaders of the Congress of the People (Cope) have shunned

a weekend meeting of the party’s Western Cape faction which was convened to

address concerns over the interim provincial leadership.

The faction – calling itself “the concerned group” – said this week

a power struggle related to the formation of branches in the party had led to

provincial chair Mbulelo Ncedana forsaking issues that affected the electorate

in favour of lobbying for power.

The group called a meeting at the Johnson Ngwevela Hall in Langa

last Sunday and asked party founders Mbhazima Shilowa and Mosiuoa Lekota, as

well as communications head Phillip Dexter to attend in order to mediate on

their concerns.

But nobody from the national office pitched up.

Spokesperson for the concerned group Bernard Joseph said the only

feedback he had received from the national office was from Shilowa who had sent

an SMS on Sunday morning, saying that he did not support the formation of

parallel structures and that the concerns should be raised at national level.

Joseph said they were denied the opportunity to raise issues at national level,

which was the reason for Sunday’s meeting, attended by about 120 Cope members,

had been called.

He said the main agenda on Sunday was dealing with undemocratic

practices emanating from provincial interim leadership, particularly allegations

that Ncedana was setting up a parallel leadership structure in the southern Cape

in an attempt to “unilaterally remove the recognised legitimate


“It’s for these very reasons that Simon Grindrod and Alan Boesak

left the party because there is no interest in ensuring that Cope is a

structured organisation that is truly concerned about making a difference in

people’s lives.”

Xolile Gophe, a Cope ward councillor in the Cape Town metro, said

the party in the province was being led by unelected leaders who were “imposing

themselves on us”.

Gophe added:“It simply means we haven’t learnt anything from our

past experience with the ANC.”

Ncedana said the concerned group’s demands did not make sense as it

was unwise to restructure the leadership months before the elective conference,

which is expected to take place in March next year.

Cope researcher in the Western Cape Mphuthumi Ntabeni said national

leadership was adamant that the party needed to set up its structures before the

elective conference so that members could be democratically elected into

leadership positions.

Ntabeni said problems over leadership were not restricted to the

Western Cape, but were widespread across the country.

He said the concerned group were also guilty of pushing for power

and the very nature of interim leadership was that it was not democratically

elected because no structures or branches existed at the time they were


“They are all just copying and pasting Simon Grindrod’s reasons for

leaving the party.”
- West Cape News

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