Johannesburg - Cope says it is unfazed by the sudden emergence of political parties built around certain personalities as the country heads towards the general elections in May.
On Sunday, the party’ spokesperson, Dennis Bloem, said that even with the new entrants Cope would get enough votes to remain in Parliament.
“These parties do not pose a threat to us as Cope. They pose a threat to the ruling party, the ANC,” Bloem said.
He made the comment following reports at the weekend that former GCIS chief executive and Gupta-linked media mogul Mzwanele Manyi was set to announce his party and leadership on Wednesday.
Former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng recently announced his own party, the African Content Movement.
This at a time that former City of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille quit the DA after a protracted battle with leaders of the official opposition to established her own party, named Good.
Bloem likened Motsoeneng and Manyi’s parties to breakaways from the ANC.
“These are ANC members who form their own parties. They were linked to former president Jacob Zuma, so it’s ANC supporters who break away from the ANC to form their parties,” he said.
Bloem was adamant that Cope would remain in Parliament after the general elections.
“We are working very hard. We will do better than in 2014,” he said of the party’s prospects. “More and more people have had their eyes opened. Both black and white are saying they have seen the light. They say they will support Cope,” Bloem added.
In successive elections, support for Cope has declined from a high of 1.3million votes that secured it 30 seats in the National Assembly in 2009, to 123235 votes in 2014, which saw only three of the party's MPs return to Parliament.
Political analyst Protas Madlala said the formation of new parties would negatively affect small parties that are represented in Parliament.
He was referring to Cope, the PAC, UDM, African Independent Congress and Agang - which could not be reached for comment.
“They will take away votes from them,” he said. “The opposition is being fragmented. It is good news for the ANC,” he said.
Madlala said it was interesting that the new parties were built around personalities who wanted a ticket to obtain a parliamentary seat.
“When you look at the small parties, you find there are one or two members of Parliament. They are a source of income,” he said.
Madlala added that the formation of parties by Manyi and Motsoeneng came as no surprise as they would find it hard to be hired by the current dispensation given their past.
“The only way to get guaranteed employment is to obtain votes and make a living. I say, with due respect, that it is sheltered employment for the next five years,” Madlala said.
He added that Manyi and Motsoeneng faced an uphill as they entered the political foray.
“They forget that running a party is expensive. You need offices all over the country, you need to campaign.”