Cope combustion: Suspended leader Lekota suspends rivals
Chief Cope Mosiuoa Lekota.
- Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota has been placed on pretrial suspension for allegedly causing division.
- The party’s electoral performance had seen a significant decline, with the latest turmoil likely to further damage its fortunes in the 2024 election.
- Lekota, at the helm of Cope for 14 years, suspended his deputy.
Cope’s beleaguered political fortunes received another blow on Monday when the party’s internal divisions played out in public in a series of tit-for-tat suspensions.
On Monday afternoon, Cope President Mosiuoa Lekota and National President Teboho Loate announced the suspension of Vice President Willie Madisha, Communications Secretary Dennis Bloem and Elections Secretary Mzwandile Hleko.
The three had earlier in the day announced Lekota’s suspension, citing his role in splitting Cope and his frequent meetings called “to form parallel structures” within the party.
Madisha also accused Lekota of “promoting actions against which Cope was formed, which include the corruption and removal of elected leaders and representatives such as councillors”.
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He also said that Lekota’s “fragile health” rendered him “unable to perform and attend the business of Parliament”.
Lekota, according to Madisha, was also repeatedly asked to rest, given his “lack of energy and strength”, but “although he accepted on all these occasions, he did not “.
The Lekota faction rejected President Cope’s suspension.
“The press briefing and press release issued today, Monday, August 29, 2022, by the Vice President, Willie Madisha, was a hasty and desperate attempt to save his own skin and that of his clique, and to try to confuse the minds of the public by spreading lies,” Loate, the national president, said in a press release.
He added that: “The President of Cope, Comrade Mosiuoa Lekota, remains active and competent to lead the party and be its leader in Parliament. He has the full confidence and support of the CNC [congress national committee]as reaffirmed at the meeting of August 20, 2022.
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“Any hallucinations of Willie Madisha and his clique are to be dismissed with contempt.”
Loate also reiterated that the facts of the case were that “a clique of just three CNC leaders” had “been engaged in unconstitutional, ambitious and irrational conduct for some time.”
Today’s side show was an irrational sham indicating desperately hurt comrades who will resort to desperate measures to spread lies and confusion.
“This morning they received a formal notice from party lawyers to refrain and stop calling the press briefing as they are suspended and have no legal mandate to speak on Cope’s behalf. will bear the consequences,” Loate said.
Lekota has been at the helm for 14 years.
On December 16, 2008, Lekota announced his candidacy for the leadership of Cope and given that he was the only candidate, was elected without a vote and announced as the party’s first chairman.
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A year after its formation, Cope achieved its best electoral result, garnering 7.42% of the vote, with more than one million South Africans voting for the newly formed opposition party. He won 30 seats in Parliament
In the 2014 national elections, Cope’s electoral performance declined significantly with the formation of more opposition parties, such as the EFF. The party only received 0.23% of the vote because it amassed less than 10% of the one million votes and more than it got five years earlier. Due to his meager 123,235 votes in 2014, Cope’s seats in parliament were reduced from 30 to three.
In the 2019 national elections, votes fell further, with just over 40,000 South African citizens backing the party. The party experienced another drop in parliamentary seats, this time only receiving two seats, one of which was held by Lekota.