Page last updated at 10:59 GMT, Wednesday, 17 December 2008

South Africans discuss new party

Mosiuoa "Terror" Lekota
Cope party leader Mosiuoa "Terror" Lekota celebrating in Bloemfontein

Thousands of people have gathered in Bloemfontein, South Africa, to mark the launch of the country's new political party, the Congress of the People (Cope). Do South Africans think Cope can form a serious challenge to the ruling African National Congress (ANC)?

Click on the links below to read their views:

Mpho Rasengane
Mpho Rasengane | 24, IT student | Pretoria

Nkutu Moalosi
Nkutu Moalosi, | 55, retired civil servant, | Pretoria

Bunny Jones
Bunny Jones | 37, film maker | Johannesburg

Moses Mphahlele | 25, student | Johannesburg

Mpho Rasengane
I have been a member of the ANC for 10 years, but I want to leave and join Cope.

I think [ANC leader] Jacob Zuma could destroy democracy in South Africa, and he is not educated enough to run the country.

There are a lot of scandals surrounding him. How can someone lead our country having faced all these allegations of corruption and rape? I don't want to vote for him.

I was not happy to see Thabo Mbeki step down from the presidency in September - although I think that was the only way out for him.

It's difficult to say how much support Cope will get. Things are just starting, it's great that this has introduced competition into South African politics.

But people are used to voting for the ANC and there are some who will do anything to support Zuma. The ANC has been trying to stop separate parties developing - look at all the obstacles they raised over Cope choosing its new name.

Many people here are not into politics. I just hope our country gets the right leaders.


Nkutu Moalosi

This new party does not appeal to me. I have been a member of the ANC for 33 years and that is not going to change. I am on an advisory panel for the ANC's former military wing, the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veteran's Association (MKMVA).

Cope's leaders claim they are offering something different, but most of them were in the top leadership of the ANC and they never saw anything wrong then.

What became wrong was when the ANC membership didn't vote them back into power. That's what they wanted, and that's why they're forming a new party, because they are power-hungry.

I worked with Jacob Zuma for six months in Mozambique, during the struggle against apartheid. For me he is a down-to-earth leader.

Why are people concentrating solely on his shortcomings? In English we say "to err is human". If we ignore his good points, that is unfair.

Zuma leads by consensus and he tries to accommodate views from other people.

Cope won't be able to make it on their own, it will have to depend on coalitions

If the party membership decides to vote him in power, who am I to say they are wrong? The ANC is a very democratic party - and it still has the support of the people on the ground.

It's true, Cope has dented the ANC support base, especially among those who are confused about why President Mbeki was recalled when he was, and that is why the Cope leadership tried to use that at the beginning, until Thabo Mbeki made it clear that no one must use his name for his own political beliefs!

That said, I can't see Cope beating the ANC in next year's elections. Cope won't be able to make it on their own, it will have to depend on coalitions. That might undo some of the work of the ANC.

Bunny Jones

I think Cope will be fantastic for democracy here, this is exactly what should happen. It feels like we're growing up.

Historically the Democratic Alliance has been the main opposition, but it was always white. Cope feels like it might be multi-racial.

Before, there was still a tendency to blame apartheid, to point fingers at white business. Problems were racialised. That's fine up to a point, but it feels like we're now moving beyond that and I welcome that entirely.

I haven't voted for ANC in the past, but I would definitely vote for Cope.

Until now, the ANC hasn't lived up to its promises; we have a fantastic constitution, but everything falls apart on the local level: in education, health care, and the Department of Home Affairs.

I read the Daily Sun newspaper yesterday, with details of hundreds of people who have been waiting years for their ID book from this department. Without this they cannot access grants, they can't get jobs or bank accounts. That's the ANC.

I have a lot of respect for [Cope leader] Terror Lekota - and he's as much a Robben Island stalwart as the rest of them.

I think the new party could do very well in urban areas, but Jacob Zuma is incredibly popular in rural areas.

At the moment I don't think Cope will change anything. It will shake the ANC somehow, but the ANC is massive, especially in the rural areas where I come from.

I just talked to my aunt on the phone. She doesn't like Mr Zuma, but she's going to vote for the ANC anyway because she doesn't want them to lose. She thinks it's only the ANC who can give provide grants and pensions to people.

Cope hasn't shown me anything concrete. The leaders were top dogs in the ANC, so to me they are not new. And if they failed in the ANC, how are they going to win this time? I'm not convinced by them.

But to be truthful, I think this time I might go for Cope. I'm not a member of any political party.

ANC has been doing badly. They've been allowing the unions to make decisions for them. Those unions can wake up tomorrow and demand more money - without thinking about inflation.

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