COPE STRAINS IN BULLFIGHT
COPE leader Mosiuoa Lekota's faction will launch a wave of interdicts in courts across the country this week in an attempt to stop Thursday's national congress.
Sowetan has learnt that the faction wants the congress postponed until 2012.
In Western Cape the Lekota group applied for an interdict to stop last weekend's provincial congress from going ahead. But the hearing was postponed to Thursday - the day it starts.
Lekota supporter Phillip Dexter said the Shilowa group's lawyer was not ready and that his faction had agreed to the postponement.
"They are supposed to be getting ready for congress but now they can't because everything is on hold. It is a good agreement for us," Dexter said.
Sources said other Cope provinces would apply for interdicts from today.
Speaking on Saturday Shilowa implied that today's congress national committee (CNC) meeting would see a fight over the party's political report.
"Lekota is expected to deliver a political report to the congress. The meeting will help him work on that," Shilowa said.
Shilowa warned delegates at the Western Cape congress not to behave like zombies by following individuals. "You will become izithunzela," he said.
He also said the Lekota faction had approached his faction several times, asking to broker a deal in which Lekota would retain a leadership position.
These talks will continue at today's CNC meeting.
Said a source in the Shilowa faction: "This would mean that he must be re-appointed by congress and this was made a condition."
But the Lekota faction said the party's cash flow crisis was another reason for postponing the elective congress.
The 2 316 delegates would have to pay R300 each as a "registration fee", the party's chief congress organiser Onkgopotse Tabane confirmed.
Limpopo's delegates had to pay an extra R500 for transport, while delegates from Western Cape were "expected to dish out R1 800 from their own pockets just for transport", according to a source.
In a letter leaked to Sowetan, Cope Soweto spokesperson Lucky Selamolela writes that "the lack of funding for congress means only those with means can attend and this effectively eliminates the majority of Cope members".
Selamolela says this was one of the reasons why Cope Soweto was planning on boycotting the congress.
But Tabane said poor Cope members would not be sidelined because other branches would raise funds for the delegates.
Meanwhile, in KwaZulu-Natal Cope said in a special Provincial Interim Leadership Group meeting at the weekend, the region had resolved that it was not ready or willing to go to an elective conference.
They urged that a general council of the party be immediately convened.