Cope: No, we’re still not merging with the DA

The Congress of the People has denied reports that is planning to merge with the Democratic Alliance now that Lindiwe Mazibuko is heading that party’s parliamentary caucus.

“We wish to categorically state that Cope has its own identity and vision,” senior Cope member Hilda Ndude told reporters at Parliament on Thursday.

“There are no intentions by its MPs to join the DA, or any other political party for that matter.”

Reports that the party was planning a merger were “very malicious”.

Earlier this week, the Sowetan newspaper claimed the party wanted its members to join the DA, following the election of Lindiwe Mazibuko as the DA’s first black parliamentary leader.

Sowetan was reliably informed by insiders in both Cope and the DA that Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota has penned a paper in which he calls for increased cooperation with the DA … ” the newspaper reported on Monday.

It quoted a “DA insider” as saying “key people will come over to the DA”.

Approached for comment earlier on Thursday, DA federal chairperson James Selfe said there had been no official talks between the two parties.

Asked if he had been approached by Cope to discuss a merger, Selfe, who was in a hurry to attend a DA caucus meeting, replied: “No.”

Ndude told reporters at the briefing, which followed a meeting of her own party’s caucus, that the report in the Sowetan was “silly and very mischievous”.

She said Cope’s MPs “collectively reject reports that we are in merger talks that may see an exodus of Cope members joining the DA”.

While the “realignment” of opposition parties was a Cope dream, that had never meant a merger, Ndude said.

This did not rule out “cooperative arrangements” with other opposition parties in the 2014 elections.

However, the survival of Cope did not depend on other opposition parties, she said.

Cope MP Dennis Bloem said of the party’s 37 members, “not a single one … has indicated they are ready to go to any other political party”.

While most members of Cope’s caucus were present at Thursday’s briefing, party leader Mosiuoa Lekota was not.

“He has another meeting in his office,” Bloem told journalists. — Sapa

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