Cope does battle over no-confidence vote

Cope’s constitution does not provide for a vote of no confidence, the High Court in Johannesburg heard on Friday.

As a result, the party could not have taken a vote of no confidence in its president Mosiuoa Lekota to remove him from his position, argued Lekota’s counsel Hilton Epstein, SC.

He contended that delegates were not empowered to elect leaders at last weekend’s cconference, after a decision by its leadership structure that it be a policy congress.

He submitted that, according to the party’s constitution, any voting had to be by secret ballot.

Epstein told the court that Lekota should have been allowed to make representations before the vote, but that this had not been done.

At the congress a vote of no confidence was also taken in Phillip Dexter, the party’s head of communications.

Lekota is seeking to have the vote against him overturned.

Advocate Tim Bruinders, acting for Lekota’s fellow leader and rival Mbhazima Shilowa and Cope general secretary Charlotte Lobe, argued that Cope’s congress national committee (CNC)—it’s leadership structure—had no right to decide that the congress would focus on policy and not on elections.

He submitted that the congress itself held more power than the CNC and that the delegates were well within their rights to to demand that elections take place.

Bruinders said that after Lekota obtained a court interdict to prevent elections taking place, he did not return to the congress and himself decided not to participate further.

Bruinders said the vote of no confidence was not a disciplinary situation where one should be given the right of reply.

The case is the second involving Cope to be heard in the High Court in Johannesburg on Friday.

Earlier, the court postponed until Tuesday an appeal by Shilowa to overturn the interdict granted on Saturday preventing the party from holding an election before September. - Sapa


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