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COPE moves elections

By Anna Majavu, Kingdom Mabuza and Zukile Majova | Feb 09, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

RAGING skulduggery in the Congress of the People has driven the party leadership to move its elective conference from December to May.

RAGING skulduggery in the Congress of the People has driven the party leadership to move its elective conference from December to May.

For the past six months Cope members and its youth movement have called for the dissolution of the party's leadership because they were no longer pleased with leadership under president Mosiuoa Lekota.

Cope secretary Charlotte Lobe said recently that the decision to appoint its temporary leadership by consensus had resulted in the legitimacy being questioned.

This week the party's congress national committee (CNC), under tremendous pressure from the youth movement, resolved to hold a national policy conference next month and an elective conference in three months time. This has opened the race for leadership, with insiders saying the contest was now between Lekota and Mbhazima Shilowa.

"I hope this will not lead to another split, with some members returning to the ANC as happened in Limpopo," a source said.

Limpopo provincial executive members Benny Moshobane, Morgan Lewele and Peter Modike rejoined the ANC recently.

Cope sources said some high-ranking CNC members were panic-stricken since the announcement was made because they were unsure whether to jump ship or to switch allegiance.

Lekota backers in the CNC denied reports that the Shilowa-aligned youth had won by forcing Cope's CNC meeting, held last week, to set a date for the conference.

"The youth wanted to disband the CNC. This would have disrupted our work of setting up branches. But with the conference set for the end of May, we have enough time to put branches in place and to make sure there is no manipulation around who attends and votes at the elective conference," said the source.

Meanwhile, tension between the Lekota and Shilowa camps is rising. Shilowa's detractors have accused him of using his position as Cope's chief whip in Parliament to carry out a coup d'état ahead of the elective conference.

A source told Sowetan that Mvume Dandala and Cope MP Phillip Dexter held interviews for several jobs in the party's parliamentary caucus last year.

But after Dandala and Dexter had offered people the jobs, Shilowa allegedly interviewed and appointed different people.


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