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24 Feb 2009 07:23
Congress of the People president Mosiuoa Lekota promised on Monday that his party would not give people top jobs or forgive their missteps because “they were on Robben Island”.
In a veiled reference to disgraced African National Congress spokesperson Carl Niehaus, he vowed not to tolerate corruption.
“Live off your salary. If you take your salary and steal money from the people there is no political solution for you, ” he told potential donors at Cope’s first fund-raising event in the Western Cape.
“No longer will men and women be appointed to positions because they were on Robben Island.
No longer will they be appointed because they were in exile.”
Lekota also criticised the ANC for using former president Nelson Mandela in its campaign.
“As if he would endorse racketeering, as if he would endorse theft,” he said referring to Mandela’s controversial appearance at an ANC rally in the Eastern Cape alongside party president Jacob Zuma.
Lekota denied reports that he had opposed the naming of Mvume Dandala, former Methodist bishop, as Cope’s presidential candidate.
“All of us in Cope started as equals. It is true that I served divorce papers [on the ANC], but it does not therefore mean that I am entitled to lead the team of men and women from Cope going to Parliament to serve our people,” he said.
Lekota admitted that Cope was cash strapped going into the campaign for the April 22 elections.
“We do not have money, but we have people. Please be these special posters who can walk, talk and pass on the message.”
Lekota had also been expected to announce Cope’s candidate for premier of the Western Cape—a close contest between struggle stalwart Allan Boesak and Stellenbosch University rector, Russel Botma.
Party sources said the matter would only be decided later in the week.
Meanwhile, the party officially introduced Dandala to the media at Emperors Palace in Ekurhuleni on Monday.
“I believe it is my duty to do everything in my power to help our nation return to the dreams and hopes that we as a nation cherished in 1994,” said Dandala in his acceptance speech.
He refused to name Cope leaders who approached him to accept nomination as the party’s presidential candidate, but said the request came to him “like waves” through “phone calls, meeting people — until the time when it became clear that this voice was coming from a more organised formation”.
Dandala, who has since resigned from all positions he was holding in the church and business sectors, said from the time Cope was formed he was willing to serve the party in any capacity, even if it was not a leadership role. - Sapa
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