‘Bringing hope’: former DA veteran says Cope formation is biggest political event since 1990

2008-12-15 00:00

KZN midlands farmer and veteran politician Graham McIintosh turned up on the stage at Cope’s national congress in Bloemfontein.

Deputy chairperson Mbhazima Shilowa introduced Mackintosh as a member of the national interim leadership group.

Speaking to the Witness, the former Democratic Alliance MP said the formation of Cope is the second- biggest political event after 1990, when former President Nelson Mandela was released from prison.

According to McIntosh, the reason he joined the new party is that all his political life he wanted to make a meaningful contribution.

He was overseas when the idea of Cope was first mooted. “I followed what was going on with interest, visiting an Internet café every three or four days. As soon as I got back to South Africa, I contacted Charlotte Lobe, whom I knew from Parliament. I said I’d love to help and she said, ‘Graham come as fast as you can.’”

He said he then met both Shilowa and interim chairman Mosiuoa Lekota and they said: “You are welcome. We want an inclusive party.”

McIntosh resigned from the DA when he was placed low down on their party list in the last national election. This meant that he was not guaranteed a seat in Parliament. In search of a party, he joined the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) for a short while, but left as it did not meet his needs. He acted as an adviser when Ziba Jiyane and Hawu Mbatha formed Nadeco, and when Cope was formed, he indicated to them that he believed this was his political home.

He added that being at the congress, he believes more than ever that this is the greatest political event in South Africa since 1990, as it is bringing hope to South Africa similar to the hope that existed in February of that year.

The veteran politician said he has started doing his bit in recruiting members to the party and has been surprised by the response. He placed adverts in northern KwaZulu-Natal newspapers giving details of how to join Cope and received an overwhelming response.

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