‘Cope to rise from the ashes’

Cope will rise like a phoenix from the ashes, according to the party’s Smuts Ngonyama.

COPE President Mosioua Lekota. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Senior Congress of the People (Cope) leaders on Monday said their party will rise like a phoenix from the ashes.

On Monday, acting deputy president Smuts Ngonyama and co-founder Mluleki George addressed journalists in Parliament, Cape Town.

The party was formed by Mosioua Lekota and Mbazima Shilowa in 2008 after they broke away from the ANC following the recall of former president Thabo Mbeki.

In 2009, Cope contested the general elections and received 7.42 percent of the vote.

Internal squabbles in the party led to them losing supporters and leaders during the 2011 local government elections.

Earlier on Monday, Ngonyama said June 11 would be the date that would mark the rebuilding of the troubled party.

He said the day marked Cope's renaissance.

Officials are set to visit various provinces in the next few weeks to mobilise support.

Ngonyama said the party will also welcome back expelled or suspended members, but said each case will be dealt with individually.

He said Shilowa will be allowed back into the fold provided he accepts and respects leader Mosiuoa Lekota's authority.

Shilowa was fired from the party in 2011 and he has been fighting a legal battle to have his expulsion overturned.

Lekota was not in Parliament as he had to attend court proceedings relating to a case involving Shilowa.

Anele Mda also left the ANC when Cope was formed.

She said she did not believe in the direction the ANC was taking.

Less than a year later, she was suspended from party after reportedly calling Cope deputy general secretary Deidre Carter a "stupid, token white bitch".

However, her suspension was lifted two months later after she apologised.

In 2011, she went back to the ANC saying Cope had no vision.