Cope KZN: cracks begin to show

2010-10-15 00:00

FACTIONALISM that is plaguing Cope nationally is dividing the party in KwaZulu-Natal with reports of a schism among the organisation’s top leaders in the province.

According to sources in the party, membership is slowly dividing among those who side with the provincial chairperson and MPL, Lucky Gabela, and the those backing its former provincial spokesperson, Siyanda Mhlongo.

Among the leaders said to be backing Gabela are provincial secretary Philip Mhlongo and provincial co-ordinator Nhlanhla Buthelezi.

On the other side, Siyanda Mhlongo is said to be backed by deputy chairperson Piet Breedt and Nikkie Moore, the head of communications in KZN.

Alleged factionalism within Cope manifested itself last month when Siyanda Mhlongo went public about alleged irregularities involving R1,4million allocated to Cope by the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature. In his outburst on the matter, Mhlongo fell short of calling Gabela a “fraudster” and a dishonest leader.

In an interview with The Witness, without mentioning names, Philip Mhlongo threatened that the party is going to get rid of “white right-wingers” within the party in KZN.

Moore denied that there is factionalism within Cope in KZN, saying “what we have here is a straightforward hangover from the ANC way of doing things”.

“When the ANC spends public money, it does not look to anyone to account for it and unfortunately this is a tendency that has come to Cope because many people joined Cope from the ANC.”

Of the alleged existence of white right-wingers, she said: “It’s a pity that we only became right-wing after we started asking questions about the financial accountability. It’s a smokescreen …”

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