ANOTHER BLOW FOR SHILOWA FACTION

THE Mbhazima Shilowa faction in Cope have suffered another major blow in their battle with party leader Mosiuoa Lekota.

THE Mbhazima Shilowa faction in Cope have suffered another major blow in their battle with party leader Mosiuoa Lekota.

Yesterday the Johannesburg high court dismissed the faction's bid to prevent Lekota from going to Parliament.

In May the high court ruled in Lekota's favour, nullifying a move by the faction to depose him as Cope president.

Lekota and Shilowa are involved in a leadership tussle. Both want to become the party leader when it holds its elective conference in September.

On July 2 a meeting of Cope's central national convention (CNC) resolved that Lekota should replace Mvume Dandala as the party's leader in Parliament. Dandala has resigned from the party.

The meeting also agreed to a forensic audit of the party's parliamentary funds.

It also prevented deputy president Shilowa from being a signatory to the party's parliamentary funds.

The Shilowa-faction (which boycotted the meeting) challenged the decision in court. The faction's preferred candidate for the party's parliamentary leader is general secretary Charlotte Lobe.

In another development Sowetan has learnt that a high-ranking member of the party's leadership has launched his own party - apparently without notifying Cope.

Documents in possession of Sowetan show that Cope Free State leader and CNC member Mofihli Likotsi registered the United Residents Front (URF) with the Independent Electoral Commission earlier this year.

The Cope constitution does not ban its members from joining other parties.

But Cope spokesperson Phillip Dexter said Likotsi would have to explain himself at the next CNC meeting.

Likotsi says there is nothing wrong with him being a leader of Cope and the URF at the same time.

"The URF is not a political party but a social movement. We had to register it with the IEC because of a resolution by the URF's members."

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