IS COPE READY FOR THE LOCAL ELECTIONS?

The new party positioned itself as ‘progressive’ and diverse, pledging to reach out to minorities and women, and promised to tackle several issues confronting South Africans, including high rates of crime, poverty, and unemployment.

In the election of 18 May 2011, the Congress of the People (COPE) accumulated no ward and one (1) list giving a total of one seat in the council of the Local Municipality of Madibeng. It had a total number of 4001 voters with the percentage of 1.9%.

The local election is just around the corner, 3 August, 2016, members of the community in Madibeng are up in arms preparing to cast their votes for municipal electionS. The results indicated above clearly motivates COPE to do better this time.

COPE’s establishment has contributed immensely in making sure that the ruling party (ANC) performs what they have promised the majority. They also participated in the Marikana massacre and urge the government to take responsibility for the killing of the 34 mineworkers.

Congress of the People (COPE), a South African political party founded in 2008 by Mbhazima Shilowa, Mluleki George, and Mosiuoa Lekota, former high-ranking members of South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), disagreed with the direction of that organisation.

In 1994 the ANC won a decisive electoral victory in South Africa’s first multiracial elections and came to dominate the country’s political system, although the party faced little.

Zuma and the entire ANC leadership must resign so we can start afresh. We cannot allow a leadership who are at best cowards and at worst, compromised, to lead the National Democratic Revolution,” was the statement made by the leadership of COPE, Mosiuoa Lekota.

On 8 October, 2008, Lekota announced that the faction of the party that was loyal to Thabo Mbeki would serve “divorce papers,” indicating a secession from the ANC and the creation of a new political party. This was duly carried out, making it the first mass schism from the ANC since the creation of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania in 1959 during the apartheid period.

The announcement was both rejected and played down by leaders of the ANC, with heavy derision coming from the South African Communist Party. However, the announcement of a new party for disaffected members of the ANC was welcomed by opposition party leaders, including former Democratic Alliance Helen Zille and Bantu Holomisa of the United Democratic Movement.

On 14 October, the ANC suspended both Lekota’s and Mluleki George’s memberships. After a further bout of legal squabbling with the ANC, it was decided that the new party be named the Congress of the People (COPE).

On 16 December, 2008, Lekota announced his candidacy for the leadership of COPE: being the only candidate, he was elected without a vote and announced himself as the first President of COPE at the convention. His Deputies, Mbhazima Shilowa and Lynda Odendaal, were also announced.

On 20 February, 2009, Lekota lost the battle for his party’s presidential candidacy to the former presiding bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, Mvume Dandala. Media reports suggested that Lekota had failed to endorse Dandala, and that party deputy leader Shilowa had played a key role in elevating Dandala over Lekota.

Although, for some time subsequent to Dandala’s victory, Lekota kept mum on the matter, on 5 February 2009, on his facebook page, he spoke out, urging supporters of the new movement: “We should also not be distracted now by who serves in the interim leadership, because ultimately the people’s voice will be heard.”

“They will vote for their leaders, and everyone else will apply for a job and be interviewed to obtain any position.” A week prior to the election, speculation mounted that Lekota was set on repairing back to the ANC, as numerous other COPE defectors already had, but he clarified his stance and said “there is no way I can return to the company of men and women who are dead set on destroying the constitutional democracy which I gave most of my life creating. I will go to the grave a member of the Congress of the People.”