Johannesburg - Rumours of Cope being de-registered have sparked a new wave of speculation about the future of the party in anticipation of the national elections in 2024.
However, City of Joburg speaker and Cope member Colleen Makhubele has dismissed reports that her party has been de-registered by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).
Makhubele reacted with fury to the news on social media, branding such reports as fake news.
This comes after news reports indicated that Cope has been de-registered with the Companies Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) under the Companies Act.
This was reportedly contained in a letter from the lawyers of one of the party leaders, Willie Madisha, who had gone to the IEC in a bid to understand its standing as an electoral body.
Cope was registered as a company in November 2008. But although it has been de-registered, it remains registered as a political party with the IEC.
Makhubele furnished “The Star” with an IEC document showing that the party is still registered with the election body.
Makhubele called such reports “irresponsible, emotional” journalism. She said such rumours were baseless, adding that forces attempting to destroy the party had failed.
“Congress of the People is not de-registered! This irresponsible, emotional, paid journalism must stop! The panic-stricken and threatened forces behind the destruction of Cope have failed dismally! A renewed Cope will meet you at the polls in 2024,” she said.
A statement by the IEC on Wednesday also confirmed that the party remains registered with it.
“Following queries from the media, the electoral commission hereby confirms that the Congress of the People is registered with the commission as a political party in terms of section 15(A)(1) of the IE Act of 1996,” the IEC said.
Last week, Independent Media reported that members of the troubled party were worried as the party has been rocked by suspensions, expulsions, and infighting among senior leaders ahead of its national conference and next year’s elections.
The party, which was formed after the Polokwane Conference of 2007 following the emergence of Jacob Zuma as ANC president, was established as a political home for those against Zuma by former members of the ANC in 2008, with Mosiuoa Lekota at its helm.
In recent years, the party has been performing poorly during elections, only managing to get two seats in Parliament.
Two weeks ago, the party made news when it terminated the membership of its deputy president and one of its two MPs, Willie Madisha.
Last year, Madisha and elections secretary Mzwandile Hleko were expelled from the party.
Divisions within the party have continued to eat away at its legitimacy among South Africans, who no longer see it as a viable political formation due to internal fights among its leaders.
Both Madisha and Hleko were members of the faction that was pushing party leader Lekota to vacate his position last year. The two, including the party’s spokesperson, Dennis Bloem, even suspended Lekota for allegedly sowing divisions.