THE political future of Cope leader in Parliament, Mvume Dandala, is heading for a cul-de-sac with party supporters in four key provinces calling for his axing.
Not even Eastern Cape defend Dandala while KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Limpopo are asking for Dandala to be replaced by Cope deputy president Mbhazima Shilowa.
Sowetan has surprisingly learnt that the first calls for Dandala's removal came from Eastern Cape, who have now been joined by KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Limpopo.
The criticism against Dandala is that he is too soft and fails to represent the party effectively in Parliament.
Cope general secretary in KwaZulu-Natal Phillip Mhlongo said he was aware of calls for Dandala to step down. But he added that those who wanted Dandala axed as party leader did not want him out of Parliament.
Mhlongo said the decision to make Dandala a leader of the party in Parliament presented the party with policy problems.
"In the absence of the president in Parliament, as is the case at the moment, the first vice-president should take over because he is the one who is tasked with briefing the president about developments in Parliament. If Dandala is the leader in Parliament, then what is Shilowa's job? That is the question people are asking," he said.
Other leaders in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape said Dandala has never had a political base in the Eastern Cape, adding that his departure would not lead to the party losing membership in that province.
In the Eastern Cape, some Cope leaders said they would support the removal of Dandala but would not support Shilowa's bid to become the president of the party.
Another Cope leader in Eastern Cape said Dandala has changed the identity of Cope from a post-liberation party to a religious party steeped in moral values.
"The argument that Cope should be a custodian of moral values is neither here nor there because even church people continue to vote for the ANC while they know it has long lost its moral compass."
Cope spokesperson Phillip Dexter said the congress national committee discussed all leadership positions and reaffirmed all leaders including Dandala.
"People who are raising the Dandala issue are nothing but cowards who do not have the interests of the party at heart," said Dexter.