Cope’s power wrangles may pose headache for IEC

The Congress of the People (Cope) looks set to present a serious headache to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) as it prepares for the local government elections, scheduled for May 18.

Power wrangles have torn Cope apart so widely that it will contest local government elections as a faction rather than as the party that caused political waves when it was formed. On the eve of the submission deadline for candidates, Cope still had parallel lists of candidates in almost all the provinces corresponding to the party’s opposing leadership factions. The party was also in court, with each faction seeking legitimation of its leadership.

The faction led by founding president Mosiuoa Lekota sees itself as the legitimate one after the South Gauteng High Court granted it an interim order barring co-founder Mbhazima Shilowa from Parliament.

The Lekota faction immediately interpreted the order as the court’s way of recognising Shilowa’s expulsion from the party, an expulsion decided on by Lekota’s sympathisers.

The Shilowa group is appealing the court order. This week Philip Dexter, spokesperson for the Lekota faction, said the party has dealt with its “internal differences” and is now on course to participate in the local government elections.

Court order
The IEC can only accept candidate lists from Lekota’s faction in compliance with the court order that recognised him as the legitimate Cope president, Dexter said.

The IEC reiterated this week that a further court ruling would have no bearing on the Cope lists if it comes after the March 25 deadline for submissions. This means that if Shilowa’s faction wins its court challenge after the Friday deadline it will probably be stuck with the lists the Lekota-led faction has submitted.

The Shilowa faction could, however, still approach the courts for an interdict against the IEC lists process — a plan the Mail & Guardian has reliably learned is on the cards. “Our objective is that by Friday there should be a court order that favours us,” said an insider in the Shilowa camp.

IEC chief electoral officer Pansy Tlakula said the commission will not accept any lists after the deadline “unless there’s a court interdict stopping us from doing that”. Dexter said the party “tried to accommodate people everywhere”, but admitted that the process could not achieve the required results. “Those who have gone and done their own thing are obviously out.”

He blamed the Shilowa faction for frustrating the party’s election preparations through the courts. “This is an attempt to delay us from handing in the candidate lists on time, but we still have enough time until Friday.”


Meanwhile, the Western Cape High Court was expected to hand down judgment on Thursday in an action Shilowa brought after the party’s chaotic December elective congress. Lekota and his supporters abandoned the congress and the Shilowa camp continued it, electing new leadership.

Shilowa hopes the court will rule that he is the legitimate president of Cope.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Mmanaledi Mataboge
Guest Author
Advertising

The recovered remain cautious

People who have survived Covid-19 are not going through life carefree. They are still taking all the preventative measures

Lockdown relief scheme payouts to employees tops R14-billion

Now employers and employees can apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for relief scheme payments
Advertising

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

DriveRisk stays safe with high-tech thermal camera solution

Itec Evolve installed the screening device within a few days to help the driver behaviour company become compliant with health and safety regulations

Senwes launches Agri Value Chain Food Umbrella

South African farmers can now help to feed the needy by donating part of their bumper maize crop to delivery number 418668

Ethics and internal financial controls add value to the public sector

National treasury is rolling out accounting technician training programmes to upskill those who work in its finance units in public sector accounting principles

Lessons from South Korea for Africa’s development

'Leaders can push people through, through their vision and inspiration, based on their exemplary actions'

Old Mutual announces digital AGM

An ambitious plan to create Africa’s biggest digital classroom is intended to address one of the continent’s biggest challenges — access to education

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday