Lekota makes Cape trip to heal divisions

COPE president Mosiuoa Lekota flies into the eye of a storm in Cape Town today, where most township branches want Mbhazima Shilowa to be made president at the first elective congress next year.

COPE president Mosiuoa Lekota flies into the eye of a storm in Cape Town today, where most township branches want Mbhazima Shilowa to be made president at the first elective congress next year.

Lekota, Shilowa, na-tional organiser Mluleki George and general secretary Charlotte Lobe recently formed a "crisis team" to visit the provinces to deal with the party's internal divisions.

They have already visited Limpopo and Mpumalanga in a bid to hold the party together until next year's congress" a senior Cope source told Sowetan.

The Cope leadership must now deal with two factions that have emerged in Cape Town. Township branches have formed the "Ncedane group", led by the party's interim regional leader, Mbulelo Ncedane, and city branches support former MEC Leonard Ramatlakane.

The Ncedane group supports Shilowa.

The Ramatlakane group, which backs Lekota, is apparently favoured by Cope's former ID deputy president Simon Grindrod and MP Phillip Dexter.

"When Shilowa and Lekota say they are not fighting, by and large, it's true," said an insider

"But their supporters have formed camps to have the ear of the man in control."

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