Shilowa has no place in Cope, says Lekota
COPE president Mosiuoa Lekota says his rival Mbhazima Shilowa is "no longer a factor" and does not have a place in his party.
Speaking to journalists in Cape Town yesterday following a Constitutional Court ruling that upheld Lekota's dismissal of Shilowa from the party, the triumphant Cope president said the next step was to fill the vacant seat left by his political enemy in the National Assembly.
Shilowa, who was fired by Lekota in February 2011, had taken the party to the highest court in the land, hoping that it would intervene.
But his application was dismissed yesterday with costs by the Constitutional Court.
Lekota said he would move with speed to replace Shilowa as a Cope MP.
"Parliament is short of one of its members. We've got to fill that gap," said Lekota.
"All of these shenanigans that he's been busy with, have been going on for more than a year now. He has no place in Cope . he's no longer a factor in Cope."
But Shilowa's camp, which still refers to itself as "the leadership of Cope", insisted that the "the Lekota faction" would not be able to replace Shilowa in the National Assembly.
"The Lekota faction will still be unable to neither fill Shilowa's seat nor be able to remove other leaders as the dispute has effectively handicapped the party," said spokesman Sipho Ngwema.
Lekota also replaced former MP Hilda Ndude, another Shilowa ally who was fired in February amid allegations of mismanagement of funds, with the little known Johnny Huang.
He said the Constitutional Court ruling also meant that Shilowa would be breaking the law if he tried to address any structure of Cope or attempted to undertake any activity in the name of the party.
Shilowa's expulsion now paves the way for the party to hold regional and provincial congresses between July and August, leading to an elective national congress in October.