Court says Lekota still Cope president

Mosiuoa Lekota was still the president of the Congress of the People, the high court in Johannesburg ruled on Sunday.

The conference which passed the vote of no-confidence in Lekota was illegal, Judge Rami Mathopo ruled.

Cope spokesperson Phillip Dexter and Lekota should have been allowed to present their side before the vote, Mathopo said, calling it a “flagrant disregard for the rules of natural justice”.

The judge ordered that Dexter and Lekota be allowed to retain their positions, interdicted the faction supporting party deputy president Mbhazima Shilowa from interfering with Cope MPs in Parliament and ordered them to pay Lekota’s legal costs.

At a chaotic weekend congress on May 29, the vote of no-confidence removed Lekota from the party presidency and party spokesperson Dexter from his position.

Cope spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said the pair had publicly pronounced views contrary to those held by the party.

The vote was taken after Lekota interdicted the congress from proceeding with an election, which he argued contravened an agreement made by both factions during a meeting of Cope’s leadership structure, the congress national committee (CNC).

The CNC had agreed the congress, initially meant to elect leadership, would be turned into a policy conference. However, during the congress on Saturday, delegates took a resolution to hold elections, expressing their displeasure at the decision taken by the party’ leadership.
- Sapa

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