The Congress of the People, having taken cognizance of the urgent need for the transformation of our historically neglected townships, the spread of unplanned informal settlements without services and the failure to provide quality services to the residents of our towns and cities calls on patriotic South Africans with a passion and commitment to serve, to step forward. COPE invites men and women who genuinely wish to serve their communities with passion and capability to declare their availability to serve our people in the sphere of local government.

COPE has now opened the process to identify prospective councillor-candidates to contest the 2016 Municipal Elections under its banners. This will be a watershed election and we need candidates who can rise to the steepest challenge our nation faces.

Our candidates must be people who are honest and committed to serving the people, dedicated to protecting and preserving public resources and assets and determined to ensure that corruption, waste and mismanagement are eradicated.

COPE implicitly believes in accountability. We therefore insist that our public representatives will continuously subject themselves and their actions (or lack of action) to sharp and consistent scrutiny. Accountability ensures quality outcomes and we therefore insist on our public representatives being accountable.

The nation deserves public representatives who –

have respect for the values and principles of the South African people;

meet their promises of service delivery;

will work tirelessly to transform townships and informal settlement areas;

ensure clean and effective governance with maximum attention on financial control;

stimulate economic growth;

fight crime and ensure safety and security for all South Africans and particularly for those who have borne the brunt of crime and violence;

create human settlements that are congenial to social cohesion, community-centredness and human wellbeing;

who will, in deed and action, espouse a fundamental belief in the need for genuine public participation and consistent report back to the residents who elected them; and

continuously seek to refresh their mandates from their constituencies and not purport to be working under instructions from called party leaders who are far and remote from the real challenges facing their particular communities and people on a daily basis.

The above constitute a consistent thread in the commitments contained in our Manifestos of the2009 and 2014 general elections as well as the 2011 municipal elections

In 2009 we said that we were “inspired by the vision shared by all our people, black and white, of the sense of history as we get a new opportunity to build a new people-centered, caring, inclusive and common South African nation”. We still believe that goal is possible. This time we recognize the extreme urgency in achieving that objective.

We also know for certain that the vast majority of people in our country will agree that “South Africa deserves a BETTER GOVERNMENT. They will also agree that South Africans need a government that is RELIABLE, ACCOUNTABLE AND INCORRUPTIBLE”.

This is particularly urgent at the local sphere of government because that is the coal face where people and their representatives interact daily.

The men and women we invite to be part of this new crusade must be clear in their conscience and their hearts of the need to enter into an unbreakable contract with the people, to serve them with humility and uncompromising commitment. We do not need career politicians.

We are confident that the journey we are embarking upon will yield positive results. We are indeed determined to attract capable men and women who will consistently and unswervingly be trustworthy and will who serve the people with passion and respect. We believe that our country is full of good, hard-working people. We also believe that we have amongst us those will not tolerate corruption and personal greed.

The dominance of one political party and its closed nature of selecting candidates has robbed the nation of quality candidates. This has also caused the boundary between state and the party to become blurred.

Our democracy is being seriously damaged by sycophants and hangers on who forsake accountability to feather their own nest. The time has come to reject those who continuously defer to their party bosses in order to pluck the fruits of patronage that they hang out.

We want candidates who will stand with their communities. We want candidates who will take the pleas of the Auditor General to heart and stop futile and fruitless expenditure.

We are encouraging people, first and foremost, to stand in their own individual right as ward candidates wherever they feel they have the support of the residents. Let that be the bond that cannot be broken. For change to come and for transformation to occur, it is individuals with commitment, capability and vision who will need to take up the challenge.

There is no requirement for anyone to be a member of COPE first before declaring his / her availability to serve. The big requirement is who the community trusts and has confidence in.

Individuals who meet the criteria for candidates and accept to conform with the electoral guidelines that the party subscribes to, will require to become members and be bound by COPE’s constitution and policies.

We, however, are committed to ensuring that, even when a councillor becomes a member of the party, he / she will unconditionally maintain the distinction and separation between party and state and remain fully accountable to the given electorate.

Where we believe that an independent candidate has better prospects of winning the vote of the majority of residents of the ward, we shall lend our support instead of fielding a candidate. The interests of the residents come first.

The Congress of the People has gained valuable experience in forging common interests among South Africans who share the same values and principles where appropriate. We believe that there is more that unites us than that which divides our people, black and white. We are ready, and will continue to work with other like-minded opposition parties by agreement. We are committed to building a future in which the arrogance of power will not imperil good governance and hold genuine democracy hostage.


Issued by COPE

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