The Citizen (KZN)

‘Cope a force of yesteryear’


- Lunga Simelane –

In 2024, party is a chapter in history books, says analyst.

The Congress of the People party (Cope) is still planning to go ahead with the launch of its election manifesto – with the date now set for 6 April – but an analyst believes it will not have an impact.

The party said the launch would take place in Hammanskra­al, Tshwane.

Cope on Saturday postponed the launch despite announcing its readiness on Friday. The party attributed the postponeme­nt to an unexpected rise in the number of supporters, and concerns over potential overcrowdi­ng and safety hazards.

Cope, with two seats in parliament, said it had received requests from potential partners interested in collaborat­ing with the party, who wanted to be part of the manifesto launch ahead of the 29 May elections.

Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota told The Citizen the party was looking for a bigger venue, as it expected to have to accommodat­e 30 000 or more people.

According to Lekota, the people of Hammanskra­al wanted the launch to be held there. “There are a number of issues involved,” said Lekota.

“Hammanskra­al is a very deprived community. The roads are very bad and there’s a huge lack of water. And when you have numbers of people coming, you must take into account whether you can have that.

“We don’t have facilities like restaurant­s, which can accommodat­e the entire thing, but we are planning to get some of our comrades to participat­e in slaughteri­ng cattle and cooking and so on.”

Independen­t political analyst Goodenough Mashego said where the 2024 elections were concerned, “I doubt even one member is going to return to national parliament because with every election, there had been fragmentat­ion of the party.

“You look at those that stuck with him for some time, like Willie Madisha, but are no longer there.

“It is important to remember Cope used to be the alternativ­e to the ANC, with people like Bishop Mvume Dandala and many others associated with it.

“So, Cope 2024, it is a chapter in the history books of South Africa. I don’t see it really achieving anything, and I would’ve even been surprised that they put in the manifesto because that is a statement of how you’re going to do things. Cope has got no capacity to do anything.

“The Bible even says ‘a house divided cannot stand’. And when you cannot even manage your own members, your own leadership, it becomes difficult to understand how you will be able to manage a country as complex as South Africa.

“I don’t think they postponed because of that but because there’s nobody left there. Cope is the alternativ­e of nothing,” he said.

Lekota said potential partners included the chiefs from North West and traditiona­l leaders’ group, Freedom in South Africa.

“We are pleasantly surprised, but I also don’t want to exaggerate our capacity. We are humbled by the interest.”

Mashego said the talk of alliances spoke to what the party had become. “It is a figment of somebody else’s imaginatio­n,” he said.

“Whoever came up with a statement of alliances, it’s a figment of their own imaginatio­n. That person really believes there are alliances because it is Cope that should be seeking alliances, not the other way around.”

Mashego added if Cope in 2009 had sought alliances, it would have disturbed the ANC.

“If at the time it decided it wanted to work with the Democratic Alliance or other parties, it had a clear chance of toppling the ANC from power.

“I don’t think anybody wants to work with Cope.

“I think Cope is the one that will go around shopping for a partner, who they might want to accommodat­e.

“They might be hiking because they can’t afford the Uber of destinatio­n of arriving at an electoral result. I doubt anybody would want to bring in people who are so divisive, who kill their own party,” said Mashego.

 ?? Picture: Nigel Sibanda ?? PLEASANTLY SURPRISED. Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota says he’s in coalition talks.
Picture: Nigel Sibanda PLEASANTLY SURPRISED. Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota says he’s in coalition talks.

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