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A tale of two Copes

Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Sep 11, 2023


It was a tale of two houses in the Congress of the People (Cope) family when two of their only members in the National Assembly voted differently during the debate and voted on the removal of Busisiwe Mkhwebane as public protector.

Almost all the parties asked their members to join the sitting of the assembly.

The African National Congress (ANC) had ordered all its members to be present to enable it to get the numbers required to remove Mkhwebane.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) was also well represented. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) were also represented in the chamber.

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) had some of its members absent as others were busy with issues related to the death of former leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

All these parties voted for either the removal of Mkhwebane from office or to reject the motion.

Cope president Mosiuoa Lekota decided to abstain from the vote. But Cope national chairperson Teboho Loate voted in support of the report of the Section 194 committee to remove Mkhwebane from the position.

Traditionally, political parties ask their members to toe the party line, Cope has been involved in factional battles in the past few years.

Loate recently replaced Wllie Madisha as a Member of Parliament. Madisha, who was the deputy president of Cope, was expelled by the party a few months ago.

But Madisha is challenging the decision to remove him from Parliament in court.

Cope has been losing support over the last years when it started with 30 members in the National Assembly in 2009 and this has dropped to only two, Lekota and Loate.