Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
There was jubilation, defiance and a sense of history in the making in this farming community this week when some 4,000 South Africans gathered to lay the groundwork for what may be a seismic shift in the political landscape.
It is too early to say whether the birth of the Congress of the People will be the political equivalent of an earthquake or a minor tremor. But there is no denying that the new political party caught the nation’s attention with the inaugural conference in Bloemfontein.
Delegates sang anti-apartheid anthems, danced and denounced the ruling African National Congress. Many had recently defected from the ANC, which has ruled since the end of apartheid in 1994. Some admitted they had fallen out of favour with the party after new leader Jacob Zuma took over a year ago.
The COPE faithful speak of a need to save the country from Zuma, who is the frontrunner to become the country’s next president after the general election in 2009. They believe he will reverse the gains made under Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, ousted as president by the ANC in September.