Archive for the ‘COPE’ Category

Opposition Chart Wayfoward

August 26, 2009 Leave a comment

The leadership of three of South Africa`s opposition parties is due to meet today in a further endevour to consolidate unity efforts ahead of  elections in 2011 (municipal) and 2014 (national and provincial).

Today`s meeting of the leadership of COPE, ID and UDM is a sequel to previous unity efforts by the opposition. Neither will this meeting be the last until unity is attained.

The clamour for unity among opposition parties comes after COPE`s entry into the political lanscape had shaken both the ANC and other opposition parties out of their comfort zones. As the result of the founding of COPE the ANC shed support in all but one province during the recent general elections. Opposition parties other than the DA were also not spared loss of support as they were reduced to the pale shadows of their former selves.

With no immediate prospects of an end to ANC political hegemony and arrogance, sobriety dawned on the opposition to make them realised that they had more in common than to can explore a common electoral platform.

As would have been expected ANC apologists and rented commentators heaped scorn on this untiy initiatives with some dismissing it as a constelation of lightweights which will never amount to a heavyweight in the mould of their ANC.

In a belaboured statement COSATU accused those who are for the unity of opposition parties as people who want:

” …to deregulate the labour market, repeal laws that workers from abuse by employers, and limit workers` rights. They want to make it easier to fire workers and do away with centralised bargaining, and push us  back  to the apartheid days when employers could do whatever  they wanted with their workers.”

This and other malicious distortions have been the stock responses to the challenge COPE offered to the ANC arrogance and intolerance. In the build up to the April 22 general elections thousands of rands were laid to waste by COSATU in the production and distribution of an anti-COPE propaganda booklet : Defend our Movement! Adavance the gains of Limpopo! Expose and Isolate the Black DA!

Such is the desperation of the DA and its fellow-travellers.

It is now up to the combined opposition to rise to the challenge of defending South Africa`s fledgeling democracy.

Categories: COPE, OPPOSITION Tags: , , , , , ,


August 11, 2009 Leave a comment
Dr Allan Boesak`s Memoir
Dr Allan Boesak`s Memoir

The long-awaited book by Dr Allan Boesak, now COPE member of the Western Cape provincial legislature, has eventually seen the light of day. Long waited because there have been hints that Dr Boesak would tell all about his indictment for allegedly misapropriating donor funding meant for the work of his Foundation for Peace and Justice.

The publication of the book : Running with Horses – reflections of an accidental politician was delayed after the former minister of finance Trevor Manuel registered his objection to claims in the book that his family benefited financially from Dr Boesak`s the Foundation for Peace and Justice. As a result of this intervention, a chapter in the book had to be re-written to accomodate Manuel`s objections.
Dr Boesak was sent to jail after he was found guilty of fraud and theft in a case related to donor funds to his Foundation for Peace and Justice which couldn`t be adequately be accounted for. He wouldn`t testify during the trial, but insisted all the time that funds donated to the Foundation had been used to assist organisations and individuals involved in the struggle against apartheid.
Former president Thabo Mbeki gave Dr Boesak a presidential pardon after his release from prison and his criminal slate was wipe clean.
The book is not devoted to Dr Boesak`s attempt to clear his name only, the bulk of it is devoted to his thirty years of activism in the church and public life.
I have just been gifted a copy that I am currently reading and intend to do a detailed review of the book. Running with Horses is an important addition to the literature of our most immediate past and will serve to deepen our understanding of the struggles which brought us democracy and freedom.


COPE LOGOCommentators and the media have of late been hard at work declaring the Congress of the People as being dead and buried. This is a farcry from the positive and at times exagerrated coverage of the party before and after its inaugral conference in December last year.

During their shor-lived flirt with COPE the media and public intellectuals had the party as offering a serious challenge to the ANC. The official opposition, the DA, was ranked a distant third in the parliamentary perking order.

The recent about turn in perceptions about the new political kid on the block is the result of its poor performance during the April 22 general elections. To compound matters following its poor showing at the polls, the party was embroiled in an inner-party strife that threatened to tear it apart. Two of its most senior leaders, Lynda Odendaal and Simon Grindrod jumped ship out of frustration. Accusations and counter-accusations flew back and forth.

The there were stories of a plot to get rid of party president Terror Lekota as well as parliamentary leader Dr Mvume Dandala.

Since this mini crisis there has been a flurry of activity, including the despatch of a trouble-shooting team to  provinces to calm the waters and assure members that all was well on the COPE side of town. Numerous of its leaders took to the media to rekindle its profile. A welcome development for a party hitherto declared a deadman walking.

In my view South Africa needs COPE for the well-being of our young democracy and hard won freedoms. More than any party, now or in the immediate future, COPE remains the country`s only hope from a possible slide to a Zimbabwe destiny. It has all that is required to make a success of its mission to defend democracy and its accompanying freedoms – struggle credentials, a national footprint and its current membership cuts across colour and class.

The tragedy is that its leadership appears not to be awake to this fact. If they were awake to the potential COPE has, they would have done much better to build the party into a formidable political player than it is at the moment.

Let us hope, and pray that they get the act together sooner than later.

Categories: COPE Tags: , ,