Elections 2009: COPE

Posted: March 27, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

So with the elections now less than a month away I thought I’d have a brief look at some of the different parties and what they’re standing for. More for my own information really, because I suspect that not doing this will mean I turn up without knowing what any of my options really mean. And turn up I will, because not voting is just a shocking waste of of opportunity: either you agree with the ruling party, in which case vote for them, or you don’t, in which case vote for someone else – in SA they’re unlikely to get in, but at least you don’t by default vote to keep an unpalatable status quo.

Let’s start with the newest contender, just for a change:


Party: Congress of the People

Website: www.copewebsite.co.za

Current representation: 0 seats / 400

Leader / presidential candidate: M Lekota / M Dandala

Some manifesto points:
Leaders who are honest servants of the people
An accountable government without corruption or greed
Respect for the values of SA people, including ubuntu, voluntary service, democracy
Growing the economy and productivity to produce decent work
Fighting poverty and expanding care for the vulnerable
Improving health care, service delivery and education
Fighting crime and ensuring safety
Advancing the African agenda

Manifesto document:   Find it here

My key question for this election: Will they garner enough support for their idealism to be sustainable?

Certainly a laudable collection of principles and I think this reflects the values of many of the founders of the party. Interestingly, I had the opportunity to meet with a colleague who is very active in the party, especially in the party’s leadership college. This was started to give thorough training to the leaders emerging in the party and its motto is “Leaders who serve”: the attitudes of the founders are refreshingly mature and you can see that there is real passion around the idea of creating a party that actually lives by its principles. I’m not sure how easily this will be implemented as the party gains mass and brings on board many who might not be as committed to these principles as the founders, but it was kind of inspiring to hear these views from those who are currently driving these things forward.

COPE is trying to be different, running a campaign that focuses more on new media like the internet and high impact advertising – have you seen the building wrap on the Queen Elizabeth bridge in Johannesburg? They run a very cool website, too. My concern with this, of course, is that South African society may not be quite ready for this: you’ll reach a certain segment quite well but not the masses that you need to pull in serious votes. However, COPE’s focus is realistically going to be the 2014 elections, with this one providing learning and an opportunity for a foot in the door.

I really liked what I heard in my discussions with my colleague, but it remains to be seen how the passion will turn out when faced with the bruising reality of the political experience. At the least, and for the sake of a changing political landscape, it would be nice to see them garner enough votes this time round to make their ship seaworthy for the journey ahead.

  1. P.A.N says:

    A really rational & composed summary. It gives me “hope in Cope”again. You deserve to be blogger of the year. Not that I’m biased of course

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