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ANC to face its first real foe -

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ANC to face its first real foe

The World Today - Wednesday, 17 December , 2008 12:32:00

Reporter: Andrew Geoghegan

ELEANOR HALL: A new party launched in South Africa overnight could pose the first real challenge to
the ruling African National Congress, the party of Nelson Mandela.

The new party is called the Congress of the People. It's made up largely of ANC defectors who are
planning to challenge the ANC at the next election.

As Africa correspondent, Andrew Geoghegan, reports, the new party is attracting widespread support.

(Sound of crowd chanting)

ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: For the first time since the end of Apartheid in 1994 South Africa has a real

MOSIUOA LEKOTA: The history of South Africa will never be the same again.

(Sound of crowd cheering)

ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: Thousands of people have gathered at a stadium in the city of Bloemfontein, in
the heart of the country, to launch the Congress of the People.

Former Defence minister, Mosiuoa Lekota, has been chosen to lead COPE, a party born out of
disillusionment with the ruling African National Congress.

MOSIUOA LEKOTA: Ours shall be a truly non-racial party, which will provide a home and voice to all
South Africans - irrespective of race, class or gender.


ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: The new party says the ANC Government is corrupt and out of touch, and claims
that the lives of many South Africans have not improved since the end of Apartheid.

MOSIUOA LEKOTA: When there is a systematic attack on the values that define us as a nation, we, the
Congress of the People, will hold hands with all South Africans to defend the values that define us
as a nation.

We have taken this stand, because we are the party of the future.

ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: Corruption allegations dog ANC leader Jacob Zuma, the man most likely to become
the country's next president.

He addressed a rival rally across town.

JACOB ZUMA: Comrades, the ANC is a learning organisation, we have learned from the mistakes of the
past 15 years. Especially the manner in which we may have, to some extent, neglected the people's
movement in our focus on governance.

ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: On the streets there are signs that the tide is turning against the ANC.

SOUTH AFRICAN MAN: Now the ANC, which was the party which was dominating, has got the opposition,
which is good for South African politics.

SOUTH AFRICAN WOMAN: I'm very, very, very, very glad that there is this wind of change going on in
our country. Because it's going to help in many ways.

MOSIUOA LEKOTA: The numbers of those who go and vote for us will increase every day from now until
election day.


ANDREW GEOGHEGAN: The true test of support for the Congress of the People will come next year when
South Africans go to the polls.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Africa correspondent, Andrew Geoghegan.