Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota
- The faction within Cope pushing for party leader Mosiuoa Lekota to vacate his position has extended an olive branch to its opponents.
- Despite its willingness to talk out of the public eye, the faction opposing Lekota still stands by its decision to suspend him.
- TIF News can confirm that at least six of the nine provinces, the youth and women’s leagues were present at a meeting where the decision to suspend Lekota was taken.
Following a public spat that culminated in a series of tit-for-tat suspensions on Monday, the faction within Cope pushing for the axing of party leader Mosiuoa Lekota has extended an olive branch to its rivals “for the sake of the party’s future”.
“Above all else, we [as rival leaders] must save Cope. There is no way that we should priorities anything but the party,” Cope’s secretary for communications Dennis Bloem told TIF News on Tuesday morning. Bloem was one of the leaders who announced Lekota’s precautionary suspension on Monday.
“We are not enemies, as comrades in Cope. There may be differences, but those differences need to be sorted out around a table [and should] not play themselves out in public.
The president of the party (Lekota) is the father of the party. As the father of the party, he must call his children and say, ‘You have made mistakes here’, or he must admit that he has made mistakes. All of us are not immune to making mistakes but what should be a priority is the party.
Despite extending an olive branch, Bloem and his faction said Lekota and Cope’s national chairperson Teboho Loate were misleading the country.
Bloem said Cope’s congress national committee (CNC) had the power to suspend members. He added that the announcement of Lekota’s suspension was valid as the decision had been taken by a properly constituted CNC.
“We, as the CNC, had a meeting on Sunday, which was duly constituted. By this, I mean the meeting met the necessary quorum, given that six of the nine provinces were there. Seven directly elected members, as well as the youth and women’s leagues were present. At this meeting…we took the decision to suspend Mr Lekota,” said Bloem.
Cope’s youth league as well as its Gauteng and Western Cape leaders told TIF News that representatives from six provinces attended the meeting, along with the youth and women’s leagues. According to them, the meeting met the minimum required attendance to take the decision.
The six provinces at the meeting were Gauteng, Free State, Western Cape, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, and North West.
On Monday, Lekota and Loate rubbished the party leader’s suspension, saying Lekota had the confidence and full support of the CNC.
READ | Cope combustion: Suspended leader Lekota suspends his rivals
Loate also alleged that the media briefing by Cope deputy president Willie Madisha, secretary for elections Mzwandile Hleko, and Bloem amounted to a “hallucination” by “Madisha and his clique”.
“The facts of the matter are that a clique of only three leaders in the CNC has been engaged in conduct that is unconstitutional, ambitious, and irrational for some time,” said Loate.
Loate and Lekota then announced that the CNC had in fact suspended Madisha, Bloem and Hleko. There was, however, no evidence that the two held a meeting with the CNC and that the CNC had approved such a decision.
Bloem denied claims by Loate that he had been issued with a suspension letter or received any communication from Cope’s legal representatives at the behest of Lekota or Loate, as claimed by the two.
“I don’t know these other rumours that are going on that I’ve been suspended. I have been looking through my emails, and this letter which they purport to have sent announcing my suspension, is not there.
“Besides this, who are the ‘we’ that Lekota and Loate claim endorsed our suspension, as the CNC is the only structure empowered to do so,” said Bloem.
TIF News understands that Cope members want Madisha to replace Lekota in Parliament as they believe the party’s fortunes may be revived under his leadership.
A decision may be announced as soon as next week.
Lekota and Loate were not readily available for comment despite numerous attempts by TIF News.