Shilowa slams lies and divisions

COPE deputy president Mbhazima Shilowa has bemoaned the culture of backstabbing in his party.

Shilowa said he was not surprised that people who had expressed interest in the party were no longer prepared to join it.

In an exclusive interview with Sowetan yesterday, Shilowa said he was in touch with ministers and former leaders of government who quit office and active politics when the ANC recalled former president Thabo Mbeki in 2008. He said none of these people were prepared to join the party because of the power struggles.

"If I was not in the party, looking at what is going on now, I wouldn't join the party," Shilowa said.

He said some of his colleagues hated him so much that they were forever peddling lies about him.

"Why would I want to be associated with a party that works like that?"

Last month, a party delegation failed to convince former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to play a more prominent role in the party, while efforts to woe Mbeki had failed to yield results.

Shilowa said he would visit all former ministers who quit government in solidarity with Mbeki after the congress.

Shilowa said Cope's first elective conference would still go ahead.

He said provinces such as Mpumulanga, which would only field two delegates at the 3 000 delegates elective conference, failed to appeal the decision of the audit committee.