- COPE has been enjoying a comeback after suffering a loss of support after infighting between its leader, Mosiuoa Lekota and a former deputy
- The party has received approval from the Afrikaaner community by speaking out against Land Expropriation without compensation as well as farm murders
- Lekota aims to calm racial tensions in the country and bring the nation back together by appealing to the otherwise excluded community
The Congress of the People (COPE) seems to have become a beacon of hope for Afrikaner communities that have been feeling like they don’t have a political party that represents them.
According to the Citizen Mosiuoa Lekota ( leader of COPE) has become a ‘messiah’ after voicing issues facing the Afrikaner identity. He has been vocal about his disapproval of Land Expropriation without Compensation and has been calling for farm attack’s to be addressed.
Lekota has been reaching out to the Afrikaners, taking part in a recent march organised by AfriForum to protest farm murders as well as another march by ToekomVonk.
Political analyst Andre Duvenhage has said that Lekota’s strategy will benefit his party by appealing to the group, which has been excluded from the narratives of other parties.
“At the moment, the bigger Afrikaner communities do not have any leader to follow and they feel they have no political home anymore. They are looking for alternatives, and that alternative is the Freedom Front Plus and any party that would take up their issues. Lekota is doing exactly that,” Duvenhage explained.
The analyst says that there are clear indications that this is winning some votes for COPE from the Afrikaans community, who identify with his narrative and appreciate a voice for their concerns.
“Generally, the Afrikaner people like Lekota because they see him as a moderate leader and a realist. He is pursuing the right strategies in terms of the African communities,” Duvenhage said.
This serves as a much-needed comeback for COPE who had lost support after infighting between its leader and former deputy Mbhazima Shilowa. This saw the parties National Assembly seats dropping drastically from 37 MP’s to only 3 in 2014.
The party’s national chairperson, Pakes Dikgetsi, said that the feud had contributed largely to the damage the party has endured.
“It damaged us. You can say it was the bad season, but we have been working really hard with determination to revive this party. Now there is a positive mood about Cope among people, our task is to translate this into votes,” he said.
Lekota has justified his inclusion of the Afrikaaners as an effort to unite the nation and bring blacks and whites together, a sentiment the late former president Nelson Mandela had stood for.
“All of us are South Africans and South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in diversity. Many people who had been voting for the DA and the Freedom Front Plus said they had no understanding of our constitution. We have been winning the verbal support of many whites and we believe they will vote for us,” Lekota said.
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