Lekota blasts Cope MPs

2009-10-31 16:16

CONGRESS of the People president Mosiuoa Lekota has blasted parliamentarians of his party, ­saying that the Democratic ­Alliance was a better watchdog.

He raised sensitive issues that Cope failed to take up and said that if it didn’t shape up the DA would beat them at the local government polls in 2011.

Cope will attempt to draw former cabinet ministers, directors-general and top civil servants into its fold to improve its political strategy.

At an emergency session at ­party leader Mvume Dandala’s Midrand plot 10 days ago, Lekota said Cope had failed to set itself apart in the National Assembly.

Dandala called the meeting to ­assess the ANC splinter party’s performance, since it entered ­Parliament on an opposition ticket in April.

The make-or-break meeting ­included all Cope’s bigwigs except Free State party leader Casca ­Mokitlane and his Western Cape counterpart Allan Boesak.

Dandala called the meeting 10 days before the first anniversary of the national convention which preceded Cope’s launch in Bloemfontein in December last year.

A member of one provincial legislature who attended the high-profile meeting told City Press that most of the leaders blamed the media, especially the SABC, for its lack of visibility in public debates.

Lekota disputed the claim and pointed out that when Cope “made an intervention”, reporters ­covered it.

He suggested that leaders should submit monthly reports on their work in Parliament.

“We need to be heard on each and every issue. Monthly reports will ensure that time is being ­accounted for,” Lekota said.
He added that Cope’s leaders should work with other opposition parties in Parliament and the legislature to ensure that the ANC was held accountable. This would set the scene for new political alliances ahead of the next election.

But some delegates warned against this, saying the party’s lack of policy co-ordination must first be addressed before it jumped into bed with other parties.

Provincial parliamentarians said leaders of the party at its ­Johannesburg head office and the Parliament office in Cape Town did not strategise before making public statements, and this resulted in officials contradicting the party in public.

Member of Parliament and former Cosatu president Willie Madisha came under fire for his position on labour brokers.
Last month, Cope and the DA issued a joint statement opposing trade union ­Cosatu’s call for a blanket ban on labour brokers and punting tighter regulation.

In an unprecedented step, the two parties held a joint press conference in which Madisha, together with the DA’s Ian Ollis, announced that their respective parties would no longer take part in the public hearings.

Delegates complained to Lekota and Dandala that they learned about the party’s position on labour brokering from the media.
Cope Limpopo legislature leader Sello Moloto argued that the party’s position on the matter was not a collective decision.
A party leader said: “Dandala said sometimes they were pressurised by the media to comment. He said sometimes they present positions without discussing with anybody in the party.”

Dandala’s adviser, Onkgopotse Tabane, has been tasked with compiling a list of former leaders who the party could lure to beef up its political capital.

Tabane is expected to submit the names at the party’s next governance meeting on November 26.

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