Former PAC deputy head launches new political party

The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) on Wednesday became the first casualty of the floor-crossing season as its former deputy president launched a new party.

Themba Godi announced the launch of the African People’s Convention (APC) at a hotel near Kempton Park.

Godi said he would not vacate his seat as chairperson of Parliament’s key public accounts committee, Scopa.

“I am the chair of Scopa and that’s it,” he said.

Later on Wednesday afternoon, APC spokesperson Mafemane Maringa said a second PAC member of Parliament, the PAC’s former secretary general Mofihli Likotsi, had joined the new party.

Maringa said the APC was also hoping that former president Motsoko Pheko would join the party. However, Pheko, who has gone on record as saying that he would not cross the floor to another party, said he could not comment.

If Pheko, who was embroiled in a dispute with the PAC, which was seeking to expel him for allegedly failing to account for party funds, did join the APC, it would leave the PAC without any representation in the national legislature.

Pheko was expelled in June, but appealed.
Last week the Cape High Court ruled the PAC could not replace him as an MP before the outcome of the party’s internal appeal process.

Maringa said the party had been joined by 40 councillors from across the country. Apart from one Democratic Alliance councillor, all were former PAC members.

One Gauteng legislature member, Malesela Ledwaba, and the Eastern Cape provincial legislature’s Zingisa Mkhabile had also joined the party.

Ledwaba was the PAC’s former national organiser while Mkhabile chaired Scopa in the Eastern Cape.

Maringa said the APC had representation in six of the country’s nine provinces. It had no representation in the Western Cape, the Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

Godi said at the launch press conference: “The PAC was a weak vehicle carrying a strong message.” He hoped the APC would become a “strong vehicle”.

Asked about the APC’s view on floor-crossing, he said: “I’m very cynical about the debate surrounding floor crossing.”

He said parties that had “begged” for floor-crossing were now against it.

Asked about the party’s popular support he said: “Let’s wait for the 2009 election and let them [the voters] talk”.—Sapa

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