Cope's new PMB office: focus shifts to garnering votes, rather than members

2009-02-26 00:00

New kid on the political block, the Congress of the People (Cope), yesterday officially opened its offices at 151 Pietermaritz Street, a gesture which the party said will serve to “cement” its presence in the uMgungundlovu district and the province in general.

Roger Ferguson, the interim district co-ordinator of Cope in the uMgungundlovu district, told The Witness yesterday that the party has representatives and members in all seven local municipal areas in the district.

“What we would like to state is that within the context of KwaZulu-Natal, the emergence of Cope creates a three-horse race between Cope, the ANC and the IFP”.

Ferguson, however, admitted that the province remained a tough nut for the new party to crack saying that this was because of the history and the dominance of the IFP and the ANC.

He also said that political intolerance and acts of intimidation directed at members of Cope were hindering the party’s potential growth.

“While there are acts of overt intimidation, we see a rise in the use of covert intimidation, whereby people cannot get jobs in municipalities or in government because they are members of Cope.

“This is why we are no longer focusing on recruiting new members, but we have shifted the focus to votes,” he said claiming that there are more people who will vote for the party than the registered members.

Ferguson said that at the moment there will be four people staffing the Cope office in Pietermaritzburg.

Asked how the office will be funded, Ferguson said it is funded by “a certain benefactor”, but refused to reveal the identity of the benefactor in question.

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