COPE circus continues as group defects
Cope founding member Mluleki George and 11 other senior members "defected" from one faction of the party to another on Monday in yet another twist in the affairs of the troubled organisation.
George has now thrown his weight behind COPE president Mosiuoa Lekota after months of backing the ousted Mbhazima Shilowa as the legitimate party leader.
Since its formation in 2008, COPE has had a number of internal battles, mainly between Lekota and Shilowa as each tried to remove the other as president of the organisation.
Briefing the media in parliament yesterday, the acting deputy president of the Lekota faction, Smuts Ngonyama, said the move by George and others had been in the interests of building social cohesion and stabilising the ailing party.
Other members who joined Lekota included member of the Gauteng legislature Clara Motau and axed administrative whip Lolo Mashiane.
"Those that show signs of remorse and want to build the organisation will be welcomed," said Ngonyama.
However, those who faced criminal charges would have to have their day in court.
They included former treasurer Hilda Ndude, who allegedly embezzled over R1-million from the party.
"The road to the survival of COPE will not be guaranteed by the courts.
"The guarantors of the future of COPE are its members and a united leadership," said George.
"It is high time that we should take one step back in order to take a jump forward."
The Constitutional Court upheld Lekota's dismissal of Shilowa as a leader of the party.
But Zale Madonsela, deputy president of Shilowa's COPE, slammed George.
"The dubious 'interim' court order meant that the principled stance of some of those who largely depend on the institution for their livelihood would be shaken," Madonsela said.