Lekota survives bitter Cope wrangle

ALL indications are that Cope president Mosiuoa Lekota will remain in his position until the party's elective conference scheduled for 2011.

This is despite efforts by a faction within the party that wants Cope deputy president Mbhazima Shilowa to take over as party president.

Party insiders say the bid to oust Lekota will fail because it is being orchestrated by Cope members who are based in Parliament.

Party spokesperson Phillip Dexter said the ANC splinter party was conducting elections at branch level to replace the current interim structures with permanent ones.

"It's going to be a long process because when we finish with the branches in July, we will receive a report that will outline how many branches we have in the country," Dexter said.

"We will then conduct regional and provincial elections. Only then could we say we are ready to call a national conference sometime in 2011."

Meanwhile, other sources in Cope said there was a bitter struggle between party secretary Charlotte Lobe and Lekota.

"As secretary Lobe is charged with the organisational stability of the organisation," An Eastern Cape Cope leader said. "She should be leading the formation of branch structures and ensuring the party constitution is followed."