We'll try again, says Lekota

2010-12-18 08:01

Johannesburg - The Congress of the People would again try to hold a national elective congress at some stage in the future, said party president Mosiuoa Lekota on Friday.

"The Congress of the People failed to take place as planned," Lekota told journalists in Johannesburg after the party's second attempt at an elective conference turned violent in Pretoria.

Nevertheless he said: "The Congress of the People in its present state remains in place and the leadership continues its work and in the near future will go on to hold an authentic first national congress of the Congress of the People."

Cope's second attempt at holding an elective conference in 2010 was aborted after violence erupted between supporters of Lekota and his first deputy president, Mbhazima Shilowa.

The leadership battle between the two has seen the party embroiled in mud-slinging matches and political contests since the formation of the ANC breakaway group in 2008.

Earlier, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) complained that Cope members had stormed the festival's venue.

"The group of about 500 people forced their way into the venue and used equipment meant for the World Festival," the NYDA said, adding that the police had to be called in to control the situation.

Its chairperson, Andile Lungisa, accused Cope of abusing the festival to get publicity.

"We condemn this type of opportunistic behaviour in the strongest terms," he said.

'Free for all exploded'

Cope spokesperson Philip Dexter said their congress did not happen because of "disputes around the delegates' forms" and "huge administrative" problems.

"We just were unable to start because of incidents of violence."

Lekota elaborated on the violence to Johannesburg journalists, saying that early on Friday morning some members of the congress' national committee and some members of parliament "stormed" those who were being registered and "roughed" them up, shredding registration records.

"A general free for all exploded."

Lekota said that one of the resolutions going forward would be that the working committee would receive recommendations of members who should be expelled for participating in the disruptions and who put the party in "disrepute through assault of delegates".

Asked if Shilowa would be included in this list, Lekota replied that if he was found to be one of these people he would be recommended for expulsion.

Discussing how some members landed up at the youth festival, Lekota said this happened after their original venue organisers told them they had 30 minutes to vacate the premises on Friday.

He said Cope leadership was meant to meet at the Pretoria Showgrounds "very temporarily"; but that an encounter with some young people from the NYDA that were "very boisterous - verging on aggression", "soured the atmosphere".

Coming back to the issue of trying again to hold a national congress, Lekota said that constitutionally the party had a right to give it another go.

"The constitution of Cope is silent on what happens if congress does not happen. It is silent on what should be done. It does not say that the congress (of the people) ceases to exist."

He said the congress could not be considered to have even begun.

"For congress to start there should have been as an opening an adoption of credentials."

Asked what kind of timeline the party was looking at for when it would make its next attempt at a congress, Lekota said: "We would like to have a congress fairly fast".

He said the party would still need to go to provinces and see what the wishes of what its members would be, as well as decide how to use its "little resources".

"The building of an organisation can never be a one-day wonder," said Lekota.

  • scorpio - 2010-12-18 08:09

    You guys can't even run a conference, sorry, you can't even get your own party up and running - and you're trying to tell your people Cope is the answer to the ANC ? Cope is run by Dopes.

  • Francois - 2010-12-18 08:18

    Lekota, for the sake of all the people in South Africa, leave Cope and leave it to Mbazima. Go fing yourself another political home or build one. You are like Ngatsha, who thinks only about himself and hand the rest of the country to the ANC on a tray since your ego is bigger than your IQ. Every day you fight, you give another 10, 000 votes back to the ANC - maybe you are actually still part of the ANC? And maybe Ngatsha wants to be.

      Demokratiese - 2010-12-18 09:47 ~ let your comments be heard to more people in minutes. Join our Democratic Alliance as a friend now!

  • kilo39 - 2010-12-18 08:31

    why bother. You couldn't organise a ' up' in a brewery. You pay no mind to any good intentions as far as your mission statement goes, you don't appear to have a clear vision of your own future and quite frankly, you are an embarrassment to not only yourselves but to everyone who ever thought you may be the answer. All you have been able to accomplish is you have provided living proof that true democracy hasn't got a hope in hell in Africa and that Africans are their own worst enemies. Cope is an EPIC FAILURE

  • Corry - 2010-12-18 08:38

    I want my fkn vote back. You bastards! You're nothing more than self absorbed, greedy, power hungry cretins. You've lost your place at the trough and have now been shown up for exactly what you are. You have no interest in provinding for the country. Truly nothing good can come from the ANC. Not even its excrement, which you are! Hope fully now you will disappear into obscurity.

  • - 2010-12-18 10:01

    You have lost what little respect we had left for you!

  • Ozymandios - 2010-12-18 10:03

    One day, human beings will realise that politicans and religious leaders are not capable of running an egg & spoon race let alone a country. Self adoration and adulation are the key words that must be there for election, on any 'so called politican's CV'. When you have an individual stand up to be a leader for a small community, without a political party backing them, and the people he/she represents decides what he/she will earn and measure them against performance and delivery, then you will find harmony. If those who don't like that leader, will accept that they will then move away from that geographical area, to a leader that does have what they seek, then we won't have people like Juliarse Dilema and Zoooomer ruling the roost of the incompetents ( and there are a lot of them out there as we already know) out there. And COPE is no better - in actual fact they are worse.

  • Arlene Levitan - 2010-12-18 11:24

    Why bother?

  • Striker - 2010-12-18 18:43

    Cope will be dismantled by the ANC who will not stand by and see you take their voters away. Your structures are too vulnerable and full of ANC spies. Root them out before you continue. Lekota is right, that party deserve a right to exist and he is probably the only top rated leader available to run it. What we have seen up to now is disruption by ANC supporters who does want the party to succeed. Stop critisizing and rather support. We need balance in South Africa and not a one party state.

  • dntsiki - 2010-12-19 14:30

    you now what?Lekota&Shilowa they really don't know what they want, they are confussing the people because we loose in western cape through this nonsense because they are too greedy they must come back to ANC OLD PARTY

  • the rock - 2010-12-20 11:10

    All the elective conferences that shows Lekota is gonna loose, are going to be disrupted. it is obvious who the choice of the people is. Mugabe lost the elections and remained the president, Laurent bakgat lost the elections and remain the president[people are dying] and Lekota lost two elections and remain the president of Cope.

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