Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Cope’s spokesperson Dennis Bloem denies he’s been suspended along with Madisha and Hleko

'I am the spokesperson for Cope and it ends there,' says Bloem.

The Congress of the People’s (Cope) national spokesperson Dennis Bloem has denied that he has been suspended from the party along with Cope’s deputy president Willie Madisha and the party’s secretary for elections, Mzwandile Hleko.

Cope divisions

The divisions within the party on Monday escalated into a series of back-to-back suspensions.

This after Madisha, Bloem and Hleko announced at a press conference in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg, that Cope president Mosiuoa Lekota had been suspended for causing ructions within the organisation and due to his ill health.

ALSO READ: Cope president Mosiuoa Lekota suspended for dividing party

Soon after the press conference, Cope’s national chairperson Teboho Loate released a statement stating that the trio had been suspended from the party during a meeting held on 20 August 2022, by Cope’s congress national committee (CNC).

‘Spreading falsehoods’

Loate said Lekota continued to have the “confidence and full support” of the CNC – Cope’s highest decision-making body in between congresses – and remained active and competent to lead the party and serve as its leader in Parliament.

Cope’s national chair described Lekota’s suspension as a “hasty and desperate attempt” by Madisha, Bloem and Hleko to save their own skin in a bid to try to confuse the public by “spreading falsehoods”.

“He [Lekota] has the confidence and full support of the CNC as reaffirmed by the meeting of 20 August 2022. Any hallucinations by Willie Madisha and his clique must be dismissed with contempt,” Loate said.

Loate said the trio was suspended for “engaging in conduct that is unconstitutional, ambitious and irrational for some time”. He added that they were served with their suspension letters by Cope’s acting general secretary.

‘This is news to me’

On Tuesday morning, Bloem denied that he along with Madisha and Hleko had been suspended from Cope.

He said this was news to him because they had not received any suspension letters or been informed about the decisions of the CNC meeting, held two weeks ago.

“This is news to me that I’m suspended and I wonder who has suspended me. I am the spokesperson for Cope and it ends there, that’s why I’m saying its news to me,” Bloem told Newzroom Afrika.

He said as far as he was concerned, the three of them were not under suspension and continued to execute their party duties.

According to Bloem, the only legitimate meeting of the CNC was convened on Sunday, 28 August 2022, in line with Cope’s constitution.  

“Six provinces were present and seven of the directly elected members of Cope were there; the youth movement and the women’s movement were present in that meeting. I don’t [know] this other structure calling themselves the CNC,” he said.

‘Teboho Loate went underground’

Bloem also denied that Loate remained Cope’s national chairperson, accusing him of going AWOL from the party since his election three years ago.

“Teboho Loate was elected at a conference in Bloemfontein three years ago [and] he went underground. During our election campaign last year, Teboho Loate was nowhere to be found.

“I am very surprised that all of sudden Teboho Loate is coming out to talk about things that he does not know. Teboho Loate does not exist in the Congress of the People.”

Loate said in due course Cope would call a media briefing on the latest developments in the party.

NOW READ: Cope’s squabbles sad for democracy

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