Cope looks beyond candidates who can shout ‘amandla awethu’

2015-04-21 17:21

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Are you a South African, honest and committed to serving your local community? The Congress of the People is looking for you.

The party has launched its 2016 local government elections campaign with a call to ordinary South Africans to apply as its prospective councillor candidates.

You don’t need to be a Congress of the People [Cope] member to apply but a competent, reliable and incorruptible South African.

“We have now opened the process to identify prospective councillor candidates to contest the municipal elections under the banner of the Congress of the People,” said Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota this morning.

Lekota, who was briefing journalists in Parliament, said while political parties had a tendency of looking at their own membership when they identify candidates, there were large numbers of men and women who were not necessarily members of political parties but who are “very capable” of providing competent leadership, reliable leadership, incorruptible leadership.

“These people may not be political animals in the sense of going to mass meetings every day and so on but at this time when we need leadership we have to look as broadly as possible,” he added.

Lekota said Cope’s attitude was that this country deserved a local government that is reliable, accountable and is incorruptible.

He said the party also wanted to move away from a culture where only people who were in jail, on Robben Island or in exile were considered for governance positions.

“You don’t have to have been on Robben Island as a prisoner or had been in exile to stand for a leadership position. In fact, the vast majority of the people who fought and brought freedom to this country never went to exile, never went to jail and they were not on Robben Island

“They are entitled as they have skills, they have education, they have the training to come and participate in government and raise the level of governance in this country to that which South Africans deserve.”

Lekota said large numbers of “very good men and women” were standing on the sidelines feeling shy that they would be told they were not in the struggle against apartheid.

“We want to get the best trained and educated people to bring their skills to bear and serve the people. Otherwise you can just have anybody that can shout Amandla Awethu, with no skill and lots of mediocrity.”

Cope will also get behind independent candidates who enjoy the confidence of their communities, saying that there is no point in contesting a hugely popular candidate.

“We will not challenge that independent candidate. We will support that candidate because the fact that the community endorses that person means it is somebody who is reliable and is trusted by the community.

“We may then afterwards talk about persuading that person to take membership of our party,” added Lekota.

It is not clear how Cope branches will receive the non-Cope members or the process, but Lekota is confident that branch members would back the co-option of competent candidates.

Cope is a breakaway party which was formed from within the ANC in 2008. It was punted as an alternative to the ANC and performed extremely well in the 2009 general elections. But its fortunes began dwindling in 2010 due to internal power struggles and in the May 2014 general elections, its support shrunk ten-fold compared to 2009.

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