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01 Mar 2009 08:29
Former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and prominent businessman Saki Macozoma have joined the Congress of the People.
Cope was expected to announce Limpopo premier Sello Moloto as its candidate for the premiership of the province on Monday.
Meanwhile, the African National Congress announced the defection of about 300 Cope members in Klerksdorp, North West, on Saturday.
“This group is made up of people who played a leading and prominent role in the work of Cope in the province and regional structures,” an ANC provincial task team said in a statement.
The ANC said they included Lucky Ntshiye, an organiser for Cope. However, Cope’s North West spokesperson Victor Kheswa said that Ntshiye and others had been kicked out of the party four weeks ago for “misconduct”.
Kheswa claimed that Ntshiye had disrupted Cope meetings and had been in conflict with the party’s leadership.
“When they resigned from Cope they said 3 000 members were going with them,” said Kheswa.
“We wish him good luck in the ANC,” he added, claiming that only six people had left Cope to join the ruling party.
He said there was no proof that the people joining the ANC were Cope members.
“The ANC is organising its own members, [then] receiving them as members of Cope,” he claimed.
‘Country needs an alternative’
Macozoma, a former Robben Island prisoner and former member of Parliament, made his announcement in Port Elizabeth where he was attending a Cope rally, led by the party’s presidential candidate Reverend Mvume Dandala.
The party is currently engaged in door-to-door canvassing ahead of next-week’s by-elections in the Western Cape.
“For all of us who have been involved with the ANC for a long time, have always understood that the ANC was a vehicle that could carry out the hopes of the people of South Africa,” said Macozoma.
“I have come to the conclusion that is not possible in the current circumstances and I think the country needs an alternative.
Meanwhile, Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi accused the ANC of intentionally provoking his supporters.
Speaking at an election campaign event at Mhlathuze in KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday, Buthelezi said this was done because the IFP’s commitment for the upliftment of democracy.
“[We are] a party that will never stop people from campaigning freely without fear or threat.”
Buthelezi said after all politically related incidents conveyed to him, it became clear that “the ANC is prepared to cause tensions which would lead to conflict ... at the end, fingers will be pointed at the IFP.”
He said last weekend at Phongolo, ANC members were observed tearing up IFP posters and replacing them with ANC posters.
“This is intended to make us loose focus and commitment to our campaigning. It’s clear that the ANC feels guilty. It does not want us to dwell on their failures we have seen in the last 10 years.”
“People need to think carefully when going to the polls.”
He urged all IFP supporters to help rebuild the nation and regain control of the province.
Buthelezi said this year’s general elections were very important and would be full of tensions.
This follows the granting of an application to prevent the IFP from holding its rally near Nseleni Stadium because there were incidents of violence when the IFP and ANC held rallies close to each other in Nongoma in January. - Sapa
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