2009-11-14 09:34

A year later, people are asking – where is Cope?

Cope was established before the national elections and the recall

of the then state president. The party was championed by former ANC members, the

former chairperson of the ANC, and the former general secretary of Cosatu and

Gauteng premier. It was bound to attract a lot of media attention.

But it must not continue to depend on the media to communicate with

its members and for rapid growth.

Nothing will replace the hard work of establishing branches on the

ground and allowing them to help Cope develop a personality.

There are people who joined Cope to occupy positions. When they

realised that these positions come with responsibility for providing leadership,

they left.

It is through hard work and dedication that Cope will discover its

genuine leaders – it is not going to unseat the ANC from government because of

Terror Lekota or Mbhazima Shilowa alone.

Cope will govern depending on the speed at which it produces


If Cope fails to provide South Africa with self-produced leaders,

it might struggle to get into government. As it is, the Congress of the People

is on track to govern.

Cope needs community activists who believe in its vision, people

who are not necessarily members of Cope but who are in a position to galvanise

the people behind Cope.

It also needs organisations outside itself that can capture the

needs and views of other constituencies. Cope’s production of leadership can

never only be internal but must be external as well.

We need to accept that no single organisation can capture the views

of all South Africans, or inspire all South Africans. We need to accept that the

South African voter is complex and diverse.

There must therefore be a difference between Cope, CopeWM, CopeSM

and CopeYM. These organisations cannot afford to use the same tone, comment on

the same issues and have the same personality. Yes, they can have the same

character, but not the same personality.

Each must serve a constituency that the other cannot reach.

Cope is growing, maturing as it does that and can no longer be

simple. It will have to be extremely complex. It has to become a web-like

political machine.

We must accept that Cope is yet to produce credible leaders; so

far, Cope has borrowed credible leaders from other organisations.

I’m convinced that Cope is stronger today. I’m convinced that most

people inside and outside Cope are too hard on the party.

I also believe that a coalition with the DA threatens to weaken

opposition politics in South Africa. This is because the DA serves a unique

constituency. For Cope to serve this constituency effectively would mean giving

up our ambitions to govern.

I believe that Cope is a governing party in the making and that the

only thing that can stop Cope from governing is Cope: not the ANC, not the

media, not the voters, but Cope.

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