ANC Defectors Launch New South African Party

Congress of the People aims to be 'non-racial' in still-divided nation
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2008 2:59 PM CST
Former South African defense minister Mosiuoa Lekota greets supporters in this file photo.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A former defense minister is the first head of a new South African political party made up mainly of defectors from the African National Congress, the party of Nelson Mandela, the BBC reports. Called Congress of the People, or COPE, the movement spearheaded by Mosiuoa Lekota formed around dissatisfaction with the ANC’s ouster of President Thabo Mbeki.

COPE will provide “a true home to all South Africans irrespective of race, class or gender,” Lekota told a rally today; the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, is supported mainly by white voters. COPE “has changed the ANC already,” one analyst said. “The ANC is trying to be more accountable and is going to the electorate to explain its decisions—something it hasn’t done in the past.”