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Chikane says no to Cope post

Director General in the Presidency Frank Chikane will not take up a position in the Congress of the People (Cope), he said on Tuesday.

”I have learned from some media reports that I have been nominated by Cope members in the Gauteng area to be on their election list,” Chikane said in a statement.

”Unfortunately I shall not be available to take up this nomination,” he said.

He nonetheless thanked those who nominated him, ”notwithstanding the fact that I am not a member of the party”.

”I appreciate the confidence shown in me by their nomination. I am sorry, though, that I have to decline.”

Chikane said he had dedicated his life to the service of the people of South Africa, Africa and the world.

”Besides serving as pastor and leader within my church, I was involved in the struggle for many years before the 1994 democratic elections. I have served the country from the highest office of the land since 1995.”

By the time he left the government, he would have served the country’s people in the Presidency as special adviser, director general and secretary of the Cabinet for 13-and-a-half years, he said.

Chikane was reportedly nominated by Cope’s Gauteng branch as candidate for provincial premiership together with the party’s Gauteng chairperson and former Sedibeng district municipality mayor, Mlungisi Hlongwane, its provincial secretary, John Ngcebetsha, and former South African Communist Party member Nozipho Khalipa.

It was initially thought Chikane would join the exodus of Cabinet and African National Congress (ANC) members loyal to former president Thabo Mbeki following his recall by the ANC in September last year.

Amid denials that this was the case, it was pointed out that he had long before indicated that he intended leaving when his term was up on October 31 2008. At the request of President Kgalema Motlanthe, he agreed to stay on until the government’s term ends in April 2009. — Sapa

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