The Congress of the People (COPE) was officially launched on 16 December 2008 in the Free State. The party came about when the recall of former President Thabo Mbeki spurred senior leaders of the ANC to pull away in protest and call for a National Convention. Former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa, former ANC chairperson and Defence Minister Mosioua Lekota and Lekota’s former Deputy Mluleki George spear-headed the call. They were later joined by Charlotte Lobe who resigned from the ANC’s powerful National Executive Committee (NEC). The Convention was held on November 1 at the Sandton Convention Centre and attracted an estimated 6300 accredited delegates. Lekota fell short of announcing the launch of the splinter party from the governing-ANC on 8 October 2008. However, he did hint that if the current leadership of the ANC continued with its arrogance and after a consultative conference yielded no joy, they would “take decisions with people in and outside the ANC”. “It seems today we are serving the divorce papers,” Lekota announced at a media briefing in Sandton. The party’s official logo and colours were unveiled on 15 November 2008. The logo – a circle with a green cross through and comprising of the other colours of the national flag – was a collective work derived from a number of suggestions submitted to the party. The road to choosing the party’s name was a rocky one. Officials first flirted with the South African National Congress but dropped it in favour of the South African Democratic Congress. This name was also abandoned when it was discovered that Ziba Jiyane had registered the name with the IEC for his new party, a break-away from Nadeco. Cope or the Congress of the People was then accepted. This new name however has had its fair share of legal wrangles with the ANC launching an outright objection. The party brought an urgent application against the use of the name saying that the Congress of the People was a significant event in the history of the party and its allies resulting in the adoption of the Freedom Charter in 1955. COPE earlier refused a demand from the ANC to stop using the name. The case was heard in the Pretoria High Court on Wednesday, 10 December and dismissed with costs two days later. The party has been hard hit by a bitter leadership battle between Lekota and Shilowa, along with resignations of some of its top officials, such as parliamentary leader Dr. Mvume Dandala and second deputy president Lynda Odendaal. But going into the 2014, the party is much more stable with Lekota as the party leader.
Lekota is also chairman of the new Collective for Democracy coalition, which consists of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), Congress of the People (Cope), the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus), the Inkatha Freedom Party, and the United Christian Democratic Party.
“The political dynamics have now changed as the diversity of South Africa is now represented effectively in our Collective for Democracy,” chairman Mosiuoa Lekota, also leader of Cope, said.
“We now have an opportunity to bring voters the hope of actual political change instead of giving up on alternatives because the ruling party has cynically manoeuvred its way into all sectors of our society, entrenching its power and corruption.” – edited by Sipho Kekana
The political dynamics have now changed as the diversity of South Africa is now represented effectively in our Collective for Democracy
2014 Elections Manifesto
A government of the people, by the people, for the people with the people. COPE says to achieve this, they reiterate on their 2009 commitment that a COPE government will:
• Introduce the direct election of Presidents by all South Africans, Premiers by all voters in a province and Mayors by all voters in the municipality in order to strengthen the power of South Africans to hold their leaders to account
• Introduce an amendment to current legislation, which is currently not explicit on the issue, that will and a transparent reconciliation of votes to voter material to eliminate any possibility of election fraud
COPE says South Africa deserves a government with leaders who are honest servants of the people – a COPE government will:
• Once again present South Africa with leaders who are committed to serving the people, protecting and preserving public resources and assets and ensuring that corruption, waste and mismanagement are eradicated
• Downsize government so that resources can be redirected towards investment in the economy
COPE says South Africa deserves a government with leaders who meet their promises of service delivery. The party says: Our Bill of Rights states that citizens have constitutional rights such as access to adequate housing, health care, food, water, education, a healthy environment, and security – A COPE government will:
• Install strong and stable state institutions to provide these services. These include provisions for decent schools, housing, health care facilities, water, sewage, adequate roads
• Re-commit itself to ensuring that all spheres of government are obliged by law to work consistently to create a climate of tolerance for different points of view, and the active involvement of the people in determining all elements of their future
• Attract skilled and professional personnel, these areas and will train additional personnel
• Ensure that public servants have the minimum requirement where there is a lack in existing legislation in this area
• Introduce a user-friendly system for reporting failure in municipal services, such as water supply, refuse removal, municipal maintenance and other services
• Ensure that inspectors are appointed to examine all services and see that standards are maintained
• Ensure that by-laws are enforced and transgressions prosecuted
• Set clear minimum standards for service delivery and
• Provide a benchmark for service delivery to ensure
• All communities receive the same level of quality of service
COPE National Candidate list: