Cape Town 100522 COPE president, Mosiuoa Lekota adresses a group of COPE supporters who refused to attend the proincial congress at Langa Community Centre. Picture: Gareth Smit

Johannesburg - With the elections looming, Cope members have been told to raise funds for the political party whose resources have been spent on protracted court battles over its leadership, it emerged after Cope’s national congress in Ekurhuleni ended on Sunday.

And while the congress adopted a broad framework of its election manifesto, it would still have to be brushed up before its launch, expected towards the end of the month, says an insider.

It is understood that the manifesto would encourage interventions to build what was described as “positive” partnerships between the government, business and labour to drive economic growth on the back of increased beneficiation and skills development, among others.

Attempts on Sunday to reach spokespersons or leaders of Cope for comment did not elicit a response.

About 700 delegates met at the Birchwood conference centre to elect Mosiuoa Lekota president, with Willy Madisha as his deputy. Also re-elected was Lyndall Shope-Mafole as general secretary, while Deidré Carter became her deputy. Pakes Dikgetsi was elected as national chairperson and Johnny Huang treasurer.

This effectively means Lekota and his supporters have shored up their dominance in the party, long split between them and supporters of co-founder Mbhazima Shilowa, who was expelled more than two years ago.

After its 2009 election debut, when it clinched 1.3 million votes to make it the third biggest party in Parliament with 37 seats, leadership battles have seen Cope unravel. Most recently Lekota signed an opposition election co-operative pact with a plethora of tiny parties, in what is seen as an attempt to shore up support. However, the IFP and the United Democratic Movement, which had been part of discussions for about two years, declined to join this co-operative agreement.

Cape Argus