Cope officially registered as a political party

The Congress of the People (Cope) was officially confirmed as a political party on Friday, the party said in a statement.

“We are relieved that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has finally pronounced on this matter and [that] the unfortunate court drama from the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), has ended,” it said.

The ANC launched court action to prevent the new party, lead by Mosiuoa Lekota and Mbhazima Shilowa, from using the name, claiming it referred to the event held in Kliptown in 1955 that saw the signing of the Freedom Charter.

The ANC held that it was unfair for the new party to lay claim to the name.

“We applaud the IEC for its professional conduct in carrying out its constitutional duties to implement the electoral laws of our country,” Cope said.

The IEC’s decision follows the ANC’s announcement on Thursday, after its two-day national executive committee meeting, that it was withdrawing an appeal against a court ruling allowing Cope to use the name.

“The birth of Cope confirms the changing political landscape in our country,” Cope said on Friday.

“In a matter of six weeks, this new party has seen hundreds of thousands of South Africans rush to its ranks inspired by the message of hope and change.

“We strongly believe that the South African people hold political leadership to a very high standard.

“We intend to adhere to this standard in our political conduct during the elections campaign,” it said.—Sapa

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