COPE president Mosioua Lekota is pushing party members to embark on a massive recruitment drive in Nelson Mandela Bay where the party claims a group of ANC members have defected.
"Five new members are expected from each COPE member a month. And that’s a minimum. If you can bring 10, bring 10. If you can bring 15, bring 15,” the former defence minister said.
Lekota was delivering the main address at a Youth Day rally organised by the COPE Youth Movement at Lillian Ngoyi Sports Centre in Kwazakhele on Saturday.
Welcoming a group of 16 ANC Youth League members who joined COPE and include Thembela Zazini, Lumka Hlobo and Neliswa Qiki – all from ward 22 in Kwazakhele – Lekota issued a stern warning, saying: "I welcome the new members from the ANC. Ndiyabavuma [I welcome them] ... [but] I don’t want thieves in COPE! The youth must understand that the ruling party ... has completely collapsed. I saw that coming.”
He bemoaned the low numbers in the hall and asked COPE campaigners to provide all the intricate details when persuading people to join COPE.
"There are lots of youth in PE who are facing challenges. The [COPE] youth must move around house- to-house, street-to-street and talk about challenges facing them ... because the governing party is all about empty promises
"[But when campaigning] don’t just say corruption, corruption! Explain all the intricate details as to how much [budget] has been allocated to each province; how much budget has been allocated for roads infrastructure; and housing development,” he said.
Lekota first spoke off the cuff, leading two young men to whisper: "Terror is just talking about folklore now. He is not saying what we want to hear.”
Just before delivering the address Lekota ordered all the men to doff their hats and headgear, saying this was his culture – to laughter from women attending the event.
COPE Youth Movement president Nqaba Bhanga lashed out at the ANC Youth League – which he was formerly a member of – saying its members only understood tenders.
"The problem we have as the generation of today is youth unemployment. Hardworking has been replaced with mediocrity. We must not continue to blame the apartheid government for ANC’s failures,” Bhanga said.
Speaking on behalf of the ANC defectors, Zazini said: "I was born into the ANC and I have worked hard for it. But we decided to leave the party because we are always overlooked when it comes to being employed in community projects. They [leaders] employ family and friends.”