National nod for Bay COPE councillors

Rochelle de Kock

TWO Nelson Mandela Bay COPE councillors – Rano Kayser and Nobenguni Magwaca – have been elevated to the party's national structures, where they will head the business and land and agriculture committees, respectively.

Both councillors do not plan to vacate their seats in the council just yet, but things could change if their names feature high on COPE's national list, which is expected to be released later this month.

They were elected at the national elective congress in Boksburg last month, where COPE president Mosiuoa Lekota was re-elected unopposed as leader of the party.

Nominated by all nine provinces to head the business liaison portfolio, Kayser has the daunting task of ensuring that the party has a good relationship with business. He was also elected to head the team that will launch the party's manifesto nationally and in all the provinces.

"With the portfolios I will be responsible for, it is like throwing someone who can't swim into the sea," Kayser said yesterday. "I am so humbled because outside of the representatives from the youth, I am the youngest person elected onto the national body.

"I will be organising the national team that will launch the manifestos and it is a big thing because it will affect our result in the elections. The election campaign's success depends on the success of the launches," he said.

Asked how he planned to convince businesses the party was stable, especially after years of legal battles between Lekota and co-founder Mbhazima Shilowa over the leadership of COPE, Kayser denied that it was a leadership battle.

"It was a fight for COPE to defend its founding principles because there were allegations of corruption against its leaders. I'm quite sure we'll be able to convince business we are a party that can fight corruption, even within our party. We exposed corruption within our own party.

"I'm quite happy we'll be able to go to business people and ordinary voters to say we've made mistakes, but give us a second chance because we can confidently say we are incorruptible," Kayser said.

Magwaca, elected to head the land and agriculture portfolio, said she was passionate about matters of land restitution.

"The first thing I would like to do is to set up a land and agriculture research committee because I wish to know what has been done on land restitution ... I will also look at government's policies on land and see where we can add value.

"My main aim is to ensure food security."