THE divisions undermining the Congress of the People in KwaZulu-Natal are likely to continue following the rejection by one of the warring factions of a mediator appointed by the party’s head office.
Last week the national working committee of Cope appointed Ndzipo Kalipa to head a national task team to look after the affairs of the organisation in the province after factionalism within Cope in KZN led to the establishment of two parallel structures.
One structure is believed to be led by the KZN chairperson, Lucky Gabela, and provincial chairperson Philip Mhlongo.
The other is made up of deputy KZN chairperson Piet Beegte and the leaders of six of the nine Cope regions in the province.
The six regions passed a vote of no confidence in Gabela and other provincial leaders.
They also established a provincial task team, after complaining of financial irregularities involving R1,4 million allocated to the party by the KZN Legislature.
Mhlongo said they are calling on the party headquarters to recall Kalipa “because he is divisive and sides with the other faction”.
The source of the dispute between Kalipa and the other faction is a press statement about the first meeting of Cope’s provincial interim leadership group (PILG).
The meeting was held on Sunday and is the first to be presided over by Kalipa since his appointment.
In the statement Kalipa said the PILG held a successful meeting at which it “recommitted itself to work tirelessly to build a strong and vibrant alternative people’s movement committed to honesty and transparency that can bring back the trust of all our people”.
“The PILG will continue its normal work under the stewardship of the national task team.
“Therefore all Cope activities in KZN are subject to approval by the task team until PILG meets again…” Kalipa said in his statement.
In a statement issued later, Mhlongo said the PILG meeting rejected parallel structures and “agreed on the commission to investigate everything that led to such ill-behaviour by some individuals”.
“It was further agreed that the KZN leadership remains intact; only the congress national committee can dissolve it not the task team or CWC [congress working committee]…
“Based on the misleading statement by Kalipa, we are in the process of communicating with [party headquarters] for the withdrawal of Kalipa from KwaZulu-Natal with immediate effect…” Mhlongo added.