Bloomberg News

South Africa’s COPE Party Not Considering Joining the ANC

June 19, 2011

June 19 (Bloomberg) -- The Congress of the People, formed in 2008 by dissidents from South Africa’s ruling African National Congress, are not considering returning to the ANC, said the party’s spokesman Sipho Ngwema.

The Johannesburg-based Sunday Times reported today that informal talks were under way between the ANC and COPE, which may result in the opposition party being absorbed into the ruling party.

“COPE is not considering joining the ANC but there are individuals who are engaged in discussions with the ANC for personal considerations,” Ngwema said from a mobile phone today.

“We are aware as we speak that there are discussions in Johannesburg taking place with two prominent ANC leaders and some of our members mentioned in this article,” he said.

The talks are being led by the ANC’s head of organizing and campaigns Fikile Mbalula and COPE working committee member and spokesman Philip Dexter, the Times said.

Dexter and several members of COPE have agreed “in principle” to return to the ANC and want to push for the entire party to be absorbed into the ruling party, the Times said.

“They are speaking to the ANC as individuals and have no mandate to speak on behalf of the party,” Ngwema said.

A spokesperson from the ANC could not be reached for comment. Neither Mbalula nor Dexter would confirm whether the talks were taking place, the Times reported.

--Editors: Kim McLaughlin, Digby Lidstone.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lauren van der Westhuizen at lvanderwesth@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net.


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