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July 24, 2014 | Last Updated 9:40 PM
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20 Years of Democracy
Apr 28 2014 10:23AM
 
Mass defection from Cope to ANC
Cope had not had a single caucus meeting in Parliament this year, said the MP concerned. Picture: Gallo Images
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Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

COPE is unperturbed by the mass defection of its MPs to the ANC expected to take place today.
 
The party said yesterday it did not regard the mass defections as a blow, but a side show.
 
It was reported at the weekend that Cope MPs would join the ANC during the unveiling of former president Nelson Mandela’s bust in Parliament today.
 
About 80% of Cope MPs are set to return to the ruling party. But Cope spokesperson Johann Abrie said they were not worried about those leaving for the ANC.
 
“The parliamentary term is five years’ long and at the end of five years the party decides who is on the list. The bulk of the guys who are going left the party three years ago. They were using our resources, but are now going to the ANC,” said Abrie.
 
He said the people who were defecting to the ANC were not on the Cope list for the elections on May 7.
 
He described them as a few individuals who felt isolated.
 
“To us this is not a big deal,” said the Cope spokesperson, adding that the party was busy with its campaign.
 
But a Cope MP said the party was in tatters. “It’s bad. It is a complete implosion,” said the MP, adding that there were valid reasons for people to return to the ANC.
 
Out of a total 37 MPs Cope had, only seven remained on the list to contest the elections. The mass defection of the party’s MPs was a vote of no-confidence in Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota, said the MP.
 
The people who were leaving did not want to be associated with Lekota.
 
“If anybody says it’s sour grapes, it’s not sour grapes. It is people exercising freedom of association,” the Cope MP said.
 
Cope had not had a single caucus meeting in Parliament this year, said the MP concerned.
 
“This is very bad. If you don’t have the right group of leaders at the top, you don’t achieve what you set out to do,” she said.
 
“The situation has become untenable,” added the MP.
 
At the weekend Smuts Ngonyama was the latest Cope MP to ditch the party.
 
He followed on the heels of Julie Kilian, Nick Koornhof and Leonard Ramatlakane.
 
The three Cope MPs joined the ANC and are on the ruling party’s list for Parliament. They appear on electable positions for another stint in the national legislature.
 
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