COPE adamant regional secretary Sijadu will fill council seat

National COPE leaders are sticking to their guns that Nelson Mandela Bay regional chairman Khwezi Ntshanyana will not occupy the party’s sole council seat.

Reaffirming that acting regional secretary Siyasanga Sijadu – whose name was the only one on the party’s PR candidate list in the Bay – would occupy the seat, national COPE spokesman Dennis Bloem said that was in accordance with the law.

Regional spokesman Thembelani Kondile caused an upset at the weekend when he announced – at a media briefing with the United Front and Patriotic Alliance – that Ntshanyana would fill the metro council seat.

He also said COPE was negotiating as a block with other small parties in the Bay to align as a group with either the ANC or DA.

The person who ultimately fills the council seat would play a significant role in swinging the vote in favour of either an ANC or DA coalition government at tomorrow’s council meeting.

The DA is pinning its hopes of governing the metro with the help of the UDM’s two seats and the one seat each of the ACDP and COPE.

Bloem said yesterday that Sijadu was COPE’s PR councillor.

“Her [Sijadu’s] name was the one that was sent to the IEC, so it will be her that will represent COPE in the Nelson Mandela Bay council.

“We are working according to the laws of this country – we could not undermine or disrespect the law,” Bloem said.

Ntshanyana had said that COPE’s regional leadership would meet on Monday to decide who should represent the party in the Bay council.

He was reluctant to speak yesterday, only confirming that the meeting did not take place.

“I am sceptical about making comments regarding this [council seat] at this stage,” he said. “I have not yet received a report. “We are still waiting for determination from the head office on who would occupy that seat.

“But the guidelines are clear. Whoever received the most votes would be the one who holds that seat.

“So the national executive council will decide between the mayoral candidate or the [PR] candidate.

“However, these are just issues that are there to destabilise COPE.

“The elections come and go . . . and we learn from them, so that we could build a strong political party,” Ntshanyana said.

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