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Cope calls Shilowa's move a 'cheap shot'

Shilowa and Bantu Holomisa announced yesterday that over 800 Cope delegates will campaign for the UDM.

Mbhazima Shilowa. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of the People (Cope) has labelled statements by its former deputy president Mbhazima Shilowa as a cheap shot to discredit the party.

Shilowa and United Democratic Front (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa announced yesterday that over 800 delegates from Cope branches will be campaigning for the UDM in the upcoming elections.

Cope spokesperson Johann Abrie says the number of delegates Shilowa claims will support the UDM is a figment of his imagination.

"Most of Shilowa's supporters deserted him a long time ago, they are all back in the ANC. He is just trying to spoil the organisation."

Abrie added Shilowa is trying to create an impression that there are divisions within the party which is simply not true.

"He was always obsessed with power. Whatever he did was always designed in a way to overthrow Cope's leadership. Shilowa is a bitter person."

The party has rejected Shilowa's claims saying since his expulsion in 2011 over mismanaged parliamentary funds, he has had no true connection with the party which invalidates his claims.

Cope broke away from the ANC before the previous general elections, and won a surprising number of votes.

Soon after, internal rifts emerged, pitting Shilowa and party leader Mousia Lekota against each other.

Shilowa was eventually expelled from the party.

Last month, he went to court to stop a national Cope conference, but his application was dismissed.