A breakaway group from South Africa's
ruling African National Congress (ANC) will Tuesday
officially launch their new party – the Congress of the People (COPE) – at the
party's convention which opened Sunday in Bloemfontein.
Tuesday's launch comes just months before
next year's general elections in South Africa. The convention also comes on the
heels of last week's municipal by-elections in the Western Cape Province in
which Cope said it won more seats than the ANC.
COPE national spokesman Phillip Dexter told VOA from Bloemfontein that COPE will become the dominant party in South Africa between now and next year's
1994, South Africa has had a situation where the ANC has won a majority of 60
to 65 percent of the vote. What this is indicates is that clearly going into
the future, they can no longer expect that kind of results and that for the
first time, they have a serious competitor for political power in South
Africa," he said.
said COPE would compete and intend to win next year's general elections against
opinion polls currently show that there is a neck in neck race between the ANC
and the Congress of the People. We believe that between now and the elections,
there is no doubt in our minds that we will become the dominant party in South
Africa," Dexter said.
said South Africans would choose COPE because they have lost hope in the ANC.
relation to fighting crime, the ANC has disbanded the Scorpions, the most
successful crime-fighting unit that we had in the country for the last 15
years. We as the Congress of the People say that not only will we ensure the
Scorpions continue to operate, but the success of the Scorpions, which is the
system they use of pairing prosecutors with investigators would be used for
very serious crimes in the country, will be used for very serious crimes in the
country," he said,
also accused the ANC of failing to adequately deliver public services to South
praised a High Court ruling last week granting COPE the right to use the name
"Congress of the People" as a great victory for the party.
ANC had contested our rights to use the name "Congress of the People". We have
all along said that this name belongs to the people of South Africa, not to the
ANC. So we contested the ANC's court
application to stop us from using the name, and the court awarded in our favor.
While we were expecting this, I think it was a great victory, and our members
are celebrating all over the country," he said.
senior members of the ruling ANC began leaving the party following an internal
struggle, which led to the removal of President Thabo Mbeki.
said while it is true COPE is made up of former senior members of the ANC, the
new party represents the true rainbow color of South Africa.
of our party people are former ANC people like myself, but we have Independent
Democrats, the Democratic Alliance and other political parties. And then
interestingly, and I think most significantly is that we have a large number of
South Africans who have not been involved in politics. We believe the values
and the principles that the ANC stood for now reside in the Congress of the
People," Dexter said.