kzn COPE IS WORRIED

JOSTLING for top positions and the infighting within Cope is not good for the party, the organisations chapter in KwaZulu-Natal has warned.

JOSTLING for top positions and the infighting within Cope is not good for the party, the organisations chapter in KwaZulu-Natal has warned.

"We are very concerned about what is happening now. Cope in KwaZulu-Natal is not going to get involved in the mudslinging," Cope provincial chairperson Lucky Gabela said as the party prepared for its elective conference next month.

Gabela was speaking on Saturday in Durban at the party's provincial policy conference, which was also attended by its head of policy Smuts Ngonyama.

According to recent reports Cope president Mosiuoa Lekota seems to be losing support since several provinces appear to be backing his deputy, Mbhazimi Shilowa, to take over the reins.

The Mail and Guardian reported that Eastern Cape, Limpopo, North West and the party's youth division have expressed support for Shilowa.

But Gabela said making pronouncements on preferred candidates was unnecessary since his province still had to decide on the credentials of delegates who will attend the conference.

Ngonyama also addressed the conference and told delegates that the fighting for positions in the party had to stop.

"We have to elect leaders who are willing to serve our people and not people who want to serve their egos," he said.

"We must not get it wrong this time around because we made many sacrifices when we formed this organisation."

He said Cope supported a social democracy form of government in which businesses could operate freely.

Cope in KwaZulu-Natal was struggling to form branches. According to the party's own reports, Cope only has 56 audited branches in KZN. Gabela attributed such minimal growth to prevalent intimidation of Cope members by those supporting the ANC.

"I am aware that some among you are worried that the pace of establishing branches is very slow. I fully agree with you, but t this is not of our making," Gabela said. - Sapa

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