In South Africa, former ruling ANC party members have taken
another step toward formalizing a new political party. it would be called COPE,
which stands for the Congress of the People. However, the ANC is not
taking things lying down. From
Johannesburg, VOA reporter Delia Robertson spoke to Joe De Capua about what
COPE leaders did Friday.
"They finally launched an application with the Independent
Elections Commission to register their party as a legal entity and able to challenge
elections. They have been struggling with finding a name for the party because
names they've settled on have been either already taken or they have been
threatened with legal action by the ruling African National Congress. And in
this face, in fact, once again the ANC is threatening to challenge their choice
of name in court," she says.
What's wrong with the
Congress of the People in the eyes of the ANC? Robertson explains, "It's the
use of the word congress. And it's also the name Congress of the People because
in 1960, the ANC was part of a group of organizations…that participated in the
Congress of the People, which was held in Soweto…and where they adopted the
Freedom Charter, which in the 1990s would form the basis almost of South
Africa's new constitution."
the ANC is claiming ownership of the Congress of the People name, other
organizations also attended that same Soweto meeting.
legal battles between the ANC and COPE could continue for months. "I think the
ANC would dearly love to continue these battles because it makes it difficult
for the party (COPE) to establish itself, to set up organizational structures,
to do advertising and all of that sort of thing," she says.
A court could decide the
issue one-way or the other. Robertson says that COPE needs to get the matter
resolved soon because it wants to participate in upcoming by-elections.