COPE’s Colleen Makhubele explains why she is being caught up in the party’s leadership squabbles

COPE's Colleen Makhubele explains why she is being caught up in the party's leadership squabbles
COPE's Colleen Makhubele explains why she is being caught up in the party's leadership squabbles

Africa-Press – South-Africa. Johannesburg’s council Speaker Colleen Makhubele, arguably the Congress of the People’s (COPE) most influential public representative, believes she is being caught up in “national battles”.

Makhubele, speaking to News24 on Tuesday, was reacting to a “fraudulent” suspension letter served on her by Mohammed Khan, COPE’s Gauteng central national committee member.

Khan said Makhubele was implicated in “unethical conduct” and the party wanted her “deregistered” as a Johannesburg councillor. His letter was sent on Monday to Johannesburg’s municipal manager, Floyd Brink, and the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).

However, COPE’s Gauteng chairperson, Tom Mofokeng, in a letter to Brink and the IEC, which was signed by national leader Mosiuoa Lekota, said Khan had acted “fraudulently” in sending the communication.

“[Khan’s] actions are rogue and is, therefore, condemned by the party. We prevail on both the IEC and the CoJ [City of Johannesburg] to discard or ignore the letter as it was meant to cause malice and further damage the image of the Congress of the People,” Mofokeng wrote.

He added:

The COPE saga is related to last week’s alleged removal of Willie Madisha as the party’s deputy president as well as from Parliament.

At a recent briefing, Madisha said he was not expelled and remained an MP.

On Tuesday, Makhubele said Madisha’s faction was “naturally aggrieved” with his apparent removal. She added that her suspension was part of the aggrieved group’s “anger”.

“You can’t blame [the Madisha faction] to a certain extent. But when it starts to cross the boundaries of legality and tarnishes the image of the party as well as serious institutions, like the IEC and the City of Johannesburg, then it becomes very serious and is taken in a serious light,” Makhubele said.

Makhubele said she understood both sides of the divide, including the national leadership’s decision to axe Madisha.

She called for COPE members to “unify and rebuild” the party.

“We know that the former deputy president [Madisha] is challenging his removal, and we have to await a court’s decision. We don’t know what that court decision will be.”

Makhubele was elected Speaker in September last year, replacing the DA’s Vasco da Gama, in a move which was backed by the ANC, EFF and IFP.

She said COPE leaders had to “remain calm” during its leadership squabbles, saying people should not “fall into the trap of causing more havoc”.

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