cOPE DEPUTY LEADER quits

GONE: Linda Odendaal. Pic: Antonio Muchave. 15/12/2008. © Sowetan.

COPE vice President, Linda Odendaal during their Rally in Bloemfontein.
GONE: Linda Odendaal. Pic: Antonio Muchave. 15/12/2008. © Sowetan. COPE vice President, Linda Odendaal during their Rally in Bloemfontein.

SOUTH Africa's latest political kid on the block Cope has suffered a major political blow with the resignation of its second deputy president, Linda Odendaal.

SOUTH Africa's latest political kid on the block Cope has suffered a major political blow with the resignation of its second deputy president, Linda Odendaal.

Cope spokesperson Phillip Dexter yesterday confirmed that Odendaal - who has been with the party since its formation in December last year - had handed in in her resignation to party president Mosiuoa Lekota.

She has also resigned as a member of Parliament.

"I can confirm that, yes, Odendaal has resigned in the last hour, but we don't believe this constitutes a crisis in the organisation," Dexter said.

"People join and leave organisations, but we regret that she has resigned," he said.

Meanwhile, Simon Grindrod, a member of the national working committee and Cope's elections head, said he had also resigned from his position - but remained an ordinary member.

Grindrod told Sapa he had quit because of poor leadership.

"The leadership is in the process of destroying the party. It is entirely indifferent to the challenges facing the party."

The resignations come amid reports of internal strife within the party.

After the general elections Grindrod penned a report cautioning that leadership battles were threatening the party's survival.

Dexter is also said to have written a frank report indicating that there were "opportunists" in the party who want to destroy it.

Cope was formed by former ANC leaders who broke away from the party - accusing it of having abandoned the Freedom Charter.

The party was launched with much fanfare - positioning itself as the viable opposition to the ANC in the general elections.

There were even predictions that it would replace the DA as the official opposition.

However, its election campaign was marred by internal ructions following a decision to replace Lekota with Reverend Mvume Dandala as the party's presidential candidate.

The party managed to win about7percent of the overall vote but failed to make a real impact in the National Assembly.

The party is also believed to be in serious financial trouble after its main benefactors - disappointed with its election performance - closed the financial taps.

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