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ANC lauds 'collapse' of Cope in Gauteng

The ruling party says the defection of three members to the ANC signals the end for Cope.

FILE: Cope President Mosiuoa 'Terror' Lekota addresses supporters, 10 January 2009, Umlazi. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The ANC on Thursday claimed to have collapsed the Congress of the People (Cope) in the Gauteng Legislature after three members defected to the ruling party.

Aupa Thulo, Ndzipho Kalipa and Clara Sodlulashe-Mwenze all announced their defections.

Thulo, who was a member of Cope's Gauteng executive committee, says the reason for his move is that the party has lost direction.

"It's so sad to belong to a political party when you don't know what it stands for," he explains. "The only person who understands what the party stands for is [Cope leader Mosiuoa] 'Terror' Lekota alone, the rest of us don't know."

The ANC also welcomed two Democratic Alliance (DA) members into its ranks this afternoon.

The party says all five new members bring their constituencies along with a wealth of experience.

Gauteng ANC's David Makhura says this development signals the end for Cope.

"We have repeatedly said that this province is not up for the taking. The one decisive thing about this election is that it marks the complete collapse of Cope in the Gauteng province."

Makhura also says the party will welcome more members in the next 10 days.

Meanwhile, ANC Gauteng Chairperson Paul Mashatile says the party had a successful election campaign and is confident of an outright victory.

The ANC says it will continue its door-to-door campaign until voting day.

South Africans go to the polls on 7 May.