Cope speaks out on ANC defections

2011-04-19 17:04

Johannesburg - Cope said on Tuesday that the departure of a number of members was the "first honest thing" those leaving had done in a long time.

It said former government spokesperson JJ Tabane, lawyer John Ngebetsha, youth leaguer Lunga Kepe, actor Hlomhla Dandala and musician Zwai Bala, who left to join the ANC, had been part of a campaign to destroy the party.

"These individuals formed part of the core of the self-styled 'Shilowa Express' who have waged a sustained campaign from with the party to destroy it," said Congress of the People (Cope) spokesperson Phillip Dexter, referring to the party's co-founder Mbhazima Shilowa.

"Since the departure of others of their comrades in conspiracy, Cope has grown in leaps and bounds," he said.

The party, which was formed as a breakaway group from the ANC, has since split into two factions which are aligned with each of its co-founders - Mosiuoa Lekota and Shilowa.

Which Cope will show

The party has since been in turmoil over which one of them is its actual leader.

Shilowa has been barred from Parliament. His faction also failed to meet an Independent Electoral Commission deadline for the submission of candidates' names for the May 18 local government election.

Cope-Shilowa has since indicated it will not contest the elections. Cope-Lekota has said it would.

One of the defectors, Dandala, is the son of former Methodist Bishop Mvume Dandala, who was revealed to be Cope's presidential candidate in the 2009 elections.

Another defector, Ngebetsha, represented Shilowa in his legal challenges to Lekota's leadership.

‘Shilowa Express’

Meanwhile, the Cope Youth Movement expressed happiness that the group had left and said Tabane and Ngebetsha had seen Cope as a cash cow.

Lekota and Shilowa left the ANC with deputy defence minister Mluleki George to start Cope when former president Thabo Mbeki resigned from the ANC amid pressure relating to President Jacob Zuma's now dropped corruption charges.

At the time, Lekota was minister of defence and ANC national chairman and Shilowa was Gauteng premier and involved in the planning stages of the Gauteng Rapid Rail Link which became known as the "Shilowa Express".

They famously announced their "divorce" from the ANC on radio and after getting the third-most votes in the 2009 elections, and a brief period of stability, their media coverage has been dominated by the leadership dispute.

George was expelled from the party in March.

  • Optimus - 2011-04-19 17:19

    Bunch of clowns

  • The Patriot - 2011-04-19 17:34

    Has to be a conspiracy theory in here somewhere. Shilowa an ANC plant?

  • Paul - 2011-04-19 17:44

    Too many snouts. All the pig slop going to be finished soon

  • John - 2011-04-19 18:01

    they went to get a free t shirt and a food parcel from the african national clowns !!!! good ridance to rubbish .

      paulmandlankosi - 2011-04-19 18:18

      I am joining them

      Mswati - 2011-04-19 19:37

      I am also joining, it's cold out there

      Unathi - 2011-04-25 16:28

      Sour grapes welcome back comrades anger can only destroy you.

  • TylerDurton - 2011-04-19 18:22

    A bit sad what happened to Cope. Many South Africans thought they would be a legitimate option for disgruntled ex-ANC voters. I hope they get their act together and South Africa can enjoy a three-party system like the UK. If the ANC, the DA and Cope got a close to equal amount of votes, the leaders would finally be forced to do what is expected of them.

      gizzy - 2011-04-19 19:07

      Pity the leaders couldn't put their party before their egos. South Africa needs a strong COPE!

      Thembisile - 2011-05-11 12:07

      That is what I am wishing for, ANC cannot be a majority ruler, the scales need to be balanced maybe then politicians will do what is right.

  • guy olembe - 2011-04-19 20:27

    i'm joining them too...

      Mxhuma - 2011-04-20 08:10

      joining who?

  • Brenda-lee - 2011-04-19 21:21

    The so called "shalowa express" have now realised that the noose to expose corruption is now tightening so tight that they will not get away with the raping of the coffers that thought would be available to them. What else than to return to where corruption is there for all who want to participate. If the leader and top structure are corrupt, then even the crumbs will meet their greed. During their term with COPE they did very little except attempt to distroy the party from the inside. Due to their and Shalowa's actions there is no doubt that they had been placed by the ANC to do just that. Watch how COPE now grows without their interference. Robby Harties

      Sizwe - 2011-04-19 22:39

      Hear, Hear. May we grow stronger without them.

      Mswati - 2011-04-20 09:21

      Wishful thinking

  • Mxhuma - 2011-04-20 08:13

    One day the truth will come out about this Shilowa guy. Was he really planted by the ANC? How can he leave with himself having done such a devilish job at COPE!

      Mswati - 2011-04-20 09:19

      Where is Shilowa, is he still at Cope?

  • mufasa - 2011-05-11 12:24

    mmmm defecting? more like tax money bribes... You smell that? sniff sniff it smells like a failing party... poor ANC.

  • Rob - 2011-05-11 12:29

    Their to departure to the ANC has increased the average intelligence of both parties.

  • Mdavu-zn - 2011-05-17 15:13


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