COPE has not been deregistered, says electoral commission

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has refuted claims that the Congress of the People (COPE) has been deregistered as a political party.

This after media reports on Wednesday suggested that the party has been scrapped off the list of registered parties ahead of the 2024 general election.

IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela said: “I do not know where you got that information, the electoral commission has not deregistered COPE as a political party.”

The party, which has been registered with the IEC for 14 years, was formed in 2008 by former ANC members with the aim of contesting the 2009 general election in which its candidate, Mvume Dandala, was defeated by former statesman Jacob Zuma in the presidential race.

In the past few years, the party has been fraught with infighting.

COPE leader Mosiuoa Lekota announced in August 2022 that his deputy, Willie Madisha, had been suspended, who in turn said the suspension was illegitimate.

At the time, two other party members, Dennis Bloem and Mzwandile Hleko, were also suspended from the party.

Havoc rocked the party again earlier in 2023 when a media briefing ended in a fistfight between rival factions.

COPE was subjected to further embarrassment when its member, councillor Murunwa Makwarela, was found to have committed qualifications fraud.

After Makwarela was elected mayor of the City of Tshwane, it emerged that he was unfit to hold public office because he had been disqualified by a court of law due to insolvency.

He later produced a letter confirming that he was rehabilitated and was allowed back in office to resume his mayoral duties, however, it emerged that he had fabricated the certificate and he handed himself over to the police.

He is currently out on R10 000 bail.


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