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YOUNG activists of the Congress of the People claim they are being silenced by the party's youth leaders, and a Facebook debate has some of them declaring war on alleged censorship.
The latest Cope youth fight began last week after Sipho Nghona wrote an article complaining about the government's "shoddy treatment of matriculants".
Nghona was tipped to take over as Cope youth president after Anele Mda was suspended last year for alleged racist behaviour towards fellow MP Deirdre Carter.
But Mda made a political comeback after a disciplinary hearing decided not to expel her from the party.
Nghona wrote on Facebook: "All hell broke loose, with some even calling Phillip Dexter, Cope's communications head, asking what my statement was doing on the site. An e-mail forwarded to youth leaders and Phillip even says I had resigned as comms head and this decision accepted by the steering comm, then why is Sipho sending 'own capacity' statements under Cope's address. Silly. If the snr comms head gives an instruction, surely the article would come from a Cope address to its members. I was even accused of sending the article directly from the party's address. What nonsense. Check the articles yourselves on my profile page below.
"I cannot be a slave in my own home. Just because I'm not a leader on any structure does that mean I have to be silenced?" Nghona asked. Cope youth activist Bongane Mahlangu wrote that he would soon start "writing in my personal capacity and as a member of Cope. If someone wants to fight that then let them bring it on".
Rodney Leshaba, a Cope leader at the Tshwane University of Technology, called on Nghona to "name and shame the individual" who tried to prevent him from writing, adding that Cope youth should not "shy away from exposing individuals who want to kill freedom of speech in our party".
Cope member Bongile Vellem weighed in, saying "whoever has a problem with anyone writing in his own capacity, is scared that he is going to be exposed that he is not doing his work".
"We must write. It is in the interest of our organisation and country. If they can't Cope then they must get outta here," writes Maboko Kganyago.
Political analyst Mcebisi Ndletyana said Cope members should not be suppressed from airing their opinions, adding it would be ludicrous to expect them to hold the same views.