Shilowa says Zuma must have his day in court

In a last-ditch effort to sway undecided voters, the Congress of the People held its final election rally in Seshego in Limpopo on Sunday.

Cope leaders told thousands of supporters that this year’s election—the most contested since South Africa attained democracy in 1994—would be decided by ‘a vote of conscience”.

In the first indication that Cope would reinstate charges against ANC president Jacob Zuma, Cope president Mosiuoa Lekota used a Sotho idiom: ‘Molato ha o bole”, which means, “no criminal offence will rot”.

He said that he believed Zuma had been given special treatment by the National Prosecuting Authority, which decided to drop graft charges.

‘South Africa will cease to be a democracy if some people are treated differently because they are special.”

“Zuma must have his day in court,” said Cope’s first deputy president, Mbhazima Shilowa. “We also call upon the NPA to take the country into their confidence by releasing the tapes that they claim let Zuma off the hook.”

Shilowa said the people of South Africa should be allowed to listen to the tapes.

All the leaders of the breakaway party called for a change in the electoral law to allow South Africans to directly elect the president, premiers and mayors.

‘Vote for leaders who do not spend their time running away from the law.
Leaders who have a clear idea of what they want South Africa to be,” said presidential candidate Dr Mvume Dandala.

Lekota said Cope would stop a situation where ‘‘n klompie leiers” [a few leaders] decided who runs the affairs of South Africans.

‘We are tired of thieves, we are tired of men who award tenders to their mistresses and their families,” he said in SeSotho.

He also accused the ANC of betraying the dream of anti-apartheid struggle leaders.

“Corruption, cronyism and nepotism have become the order of the day, signifying a betrayal of everything that the generation of [Langalibalele] Dube, [Albert] Luthuli, [Oliver] Tambo and [Nelson] Mandela stood for.”

Lekota slammed the ruling party for allegedly trying to buy votes with food parcels and vouchers. ‘They say ‘this year you are hungry’. Why do you get hungry once in five years? You will never see that food again after Wednesday”.

“If you do not vote for the Congress of the People and things go wrong in a few years from now, don’t say you didn’t know. Vote for leaders who have moral and political courage to tackle crime head-on and deal with dishonest leaders,” he said.

Lekota told supporters they should not be intimidated by seeing people wearing the T-shirts of other political parties. “There are many of our comrades who are left behind in the ANC. You don’t have to have a Cope membership card to vote Cope.”

He again re-assured his supporters that he would not go to Parliament because he wanted to monitor the party’s progress and ‘check that we are doing what we said we would do”.

The latest research survey from Plus 94 predicts that Cope is likely to get about 15% of the national vote and be the opposition party in six provinces.

Mmanaledi Mataboge

Mmanaledi Mataboge

Mmanaledi Mataboge is the Mail & Guardian's political editor. Raised in a rural village, she later studied journalism in a township where she fell in love with the medium of radio. This former radio presenter and producer previously worked as a senior politics reporter for the Mail & Guardian, and writes on politics, government, and anything that gives the disadvantaged, poor, and the oppressed a voice. Read more from Mmanaledi Mataboge

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