Cope quorum features in court

2013-07-09 16:37

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Johannesburg - The head researcher for Cope could not recall hearing changes that would affect the party's quorum, discussed at a 2010 conference, the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg heard on Tuesday.

Farouk Cassim, head of the Congress of the People's research team, testified that he could not recall discussion about an amendment to the party's constitution during a conference held at St George's Hotel in Irene in May 2010.

The amendment referred to a change in the party quorum from two-thirds, to 50% plus one.

"I cannot recall that anything of that nature occurred during that conference," Cassim said.

The quorum is the number of members who must be present to validate a party decision.

Cassim said he did not attend one of the sessions as it was not of relevance to the research team, which dealt only with policy aspects of the conference.

The matter before the court is part of the ongoing battle over the party's leadership since Mbhazima Shilowa was ousted.

Both Shilowa and Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota were in court on Tuesday.

In February 2011, Lekota obtained an interim court order recognising him as president of the party, and restraining ousted leader Shilowa from claiming the title of party leader.

On 8 February of that year, Lekota expelled Shilowa from the party after an internal disciplinary hearing.

Shilowa refused to participate. He was found guilty of mismanaging the party's parliamentary funds.

Disciplinary hearing

On 18 July 2012, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria struck an application by a faction of Cope aligned to Shilowa off the roll.

The application was to stop further disciplinary hearings against Cope members pending the outcome of the Shilowa-Lekota leadership dispute.

Judge Ronel Tolmay ruled that the application by five Cope leaders in Gauteng and Limpopo was not urgent.

The application was brought by caucus leader Ndzipho Kalipa, whip Moses Mayekiso, and Clara Sodlulashe-Motau, all of the Gauteng legislature; and Solly Mokhatshoa and Mabule Motubatse of the Limpopo legislature.

Lekota opposed the application, saying it was not urgent. Cope would become ungovernable if the party could not discipline its members, he said at the time.

Just before lunch on Tuesday, a member of the research team headed by Cassim said he had attended the commission dealing with the party's constitution during the conference.

The commission was cut short due to time constraints, and he insisted that the clause was not discussed before the session closed.

Earlier, Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem said Lekota was expected to take the stand on Tuesday.

The matter continues in the afternoon.

Read more on:    cope  |  mbhazima shilowa  |  mosiuoa lekota  |  johannesburg  |  politics

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