Citizen
National 6.1.2014 01.40 pm

Cope ready for national congress

FILE PICTURE: Congress of the People (COPE) president Mosiuoa Lekota. Picture: Alaister Russell
The Congress of the People is ready for its national elective conference to be held in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg, this weekend, the party said on Monday.

Spokesman Johann Abrie said delegates would only see the nominees for the party’s top positions when they arrived at the conference, as the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa was handling the nominations from the party’s provincial conferences.

“Mr Lekota has decided to stand as a candidate for president and will sign a declaration of his availability [on Monday] afternoon.”

He said Lekota was “a very popular” candidate.

On October 18, the High Court in Johannesburg ruled that Lekota was the rightful leader of Cope after a lengthy leadership struggle between himself and Mbhazima Shilowa.

Abrie said in a statement all nine provincial congresses had been finalised.

“The election results are currently being verified by the party’s national secretariat, to ensure that the processes were free and fair and that the results represent the choices of party members.”

During the national congress, delegates would be issued with handheld devices that would be used to cast votes, which would make the voting results known within seconds, Abrie said.

The national Cope Women’s Movement conference began in Johannesburg on Monday.

The party’s Youth Movement reiterated its support for Lekota during its national elective conference, held over the weekend.

During the conference, held in Modimolle, Limpopo, members backed Lekota to continue as party president and elected Abel Rangata as president of the Cope Youth Movement, Rangata said in a statement.

Rangata replaced Nqaba Bhanga as COPEYM president.

For the remaining key positions, COPEYM nominated Smuts Ngonyama for first deputy president, Willie Madisha for second deputy president and Bhanga as secretary general.

The youth movement’s newly elected deputy president was Tebogo Saidi, with Mpho Mehlape as secretary general, Noluvuyo Gcilishe as deputy secretary general and Wayne Faltyn as treasurer general.

Cope’s national congress would be held from Friday to Sunday at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg.

Rangata said the COPEYM conference thanked Bhanga for his work in leading the movement.

“His boundless contribution has ensured that the voices of young people continue to be heard.

“The new leadership now has the responsibility to carry on from where cadre Nqaba left off.”

Last month Cope and four other parties formed a coalition to contest the general elections.

The new Collective for Democracy consists of Cope, the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus), the Inkatha Freedom Party, and the United Christian Democratic Party.

- Sapa

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