The suspension of Congress of the People (Cope) president Mosiuoa Lekota amid continued infighting in the party makes no difference in the landscape of South African politics, according to political analyst Xolani Dube. Lekota has been indefinitely suspended by the party’s congress national committee. Dube suggested that the party, whose growth has been stagnant since 2014, would eventually die. “They have no role to play anymore. They are fighting for something that does not exist. It is just an illusionary thing that they are fighting over here. There’s nothing in Cope,” he added. Dube said Cope would disappear in South…
The suspension of Congress of the People (Cope) president Mosiuoa Lekota amid continued infighting in the party makes no difference in the landscape of South African politics, according to political analyst Xolani Dube.
Lekota has been indefinitely suspended by the party’s congress national committee. Dube suggested that the party, whose growth has been stagnant since 2014, would eventually die.
“They have no role to play anymore. They are fighting for something that does not exist. It is just an illusionary thing that they are fighting over here. There’s nothing in Cope,” he added.
Dube said Cope would disappear in South Africa politics come the 2024 general elections.
“There’s nothing of substance that one can attribute to Cope. I don’t think they will play any significant role come 2024; after all they were not playing any significant role [before].”
He said Cope was fighting over a castle in the air and its latest move was a true reflection of how illusionary they had become as politicians.
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Cope deputy president Willie Madisha said whether Lekota refused or accepted the suspension, there was nothing he could do as the organisation has decided.
“Whether he likes it or not, he must just follow that. He cannot say he is going to contest this even beyond the borders of the organisation. He must just move out until the congress national committee makes a decision,” said Madisha.
‘These are the products of the ANC’
Dube further characterised the move as indicative of the inability of Cope leaders to control their egos and the continued fight over positions.
“It clearly indicates that the products of the ANC do not want to fight for issues, they are more concerned with possessions. These are the products of the ANC.”
Madisha also attributed Lekota’s suspension to ill-health, inability to adequately do the work in parliament and his lack of energy in leading the party.
“We believe that he must step down, he is not well. “He is beyond the age of 75. He is unable to do anything. He cannot go to parliament, when he comes to the meetings he only comes to sleep. The meetings go on with him being present, but asleep.”
Madisha slammed accusations that Cope, which was co-founded by Lekota, depended heavily on his involvement. He also accused Lekota of playing a significant role in dividing the party.
“I’m part of the people who formed Cope, he is part of the people who formed Cope, but then I cannot say Cope belongs to me. It is not mine, it belongs to the members of Cope. You cannot simply say because I am not happy, I’m going down with this organisation. We cannot have that kind of a thing.”
He also accused Lekota of being behind the declining electoral support since the party’s inception in 2014.
Madisha alleged that the president has been leading the party through parallel structures. He claimed that last week, Lekota called people to a meeting of what was called the congress national committee.
“In this meeting, it was himself and another person; he left out all the other people [committee members].
“I’m his deputy and I was not called. He goes to the meeting and he announces that he has a new secretary-general. Can you call that a leader?”
‘No organisation will allow such behaviour’
Cope national spokesperson Dennis Bloem said it was not only because of ill health that Lekota was being disciplined, but also because of his divisive role.
“Ill health does not qualify you to be sidelined from anything but when you are divisive in any organisation, no organisation will allow such behaviour.”
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The Citizen tried to contact Lekota, but he did not respond.
Cope started promisingly
- The Congress of the People was formed in 2008 by former members of the ANC who disagreed with the direction of that organisation.
- It was founded by former ANC members Mosiuoa Lekota, Mbhazima Shilowa and Mluleki George to contest the 2009 general election.
- The new party positioned itself as “progressive” and diverse, pledging to reach out to minorities and women, and promising to tackle several issues confronting South Africans, including high rates of crime, poverty, and unemployment.
- In the 2009 elections, held on 22 April, Cope won 7% of the national vote, finishing in third place, behind the ANC and the Democratic Alliance.