COPE should either clean up its act or change its name.
General secretary Charlotte Lobe says its audited membership has shrunk to less than 100 000.
It is also alleged that senior party members have left because of vicious infighting.
Indeed, the contest between Mosiuoa Lekota and Mbhazima Shilowa has left a sour taste in many people's mouths.
Cope was launched with a lot of fanfare and very little policy at a time when many South Africans were looking for a fresh political home.
The fact that it had been formed by disgruntled politicians who had lost their sinecures when Thabo Mbeki fell from power should have tempered that hope.
Lekota was scooped from his wine farm to recruit members for the new party. Now, as an old-style ANC politician, he wants to be rewarded with the leadership of the party.
We are not sure what Mbhazima stands for. Perhaps it will be clearer after the party congress.
Members have already aligned themselves to their preferred candidate, with Taiwanese-style fisticuffs, insults and robust discussions about who should lead.
There is very little time left to discuss the party's platform and what it means for the voters.
All they want is to grab power at any cost.
We appeal to these leaders to put the voters first. We need at least one party that is dignified, cares about the prosperity of the country and promises a future we can all believe in.
But Cope does not seem to be the viable opposition to the ANC that people had hoped for.