His baggage included allegations of corruption, sexual harassment and a motor mouth predilection for outrageous statements.
Now there’s Allan Boesak, who also brings with him a troubled past, having been convicted of stealing donor funds intended for underprivileged children.
Boesak was jailed in 2000 and served half of his three-year sentence. Totally unrepentant, he was pardoned in 2005 by then President Thabo Mbeki. A former Western Cape ANC leader with a religious bent, Boesak may have his uses because he brings a constituency of coloured supporters.
And, like Terror Lekota and Mbhazima Shilowa, he is volubly disenchanted with the ANC. But being angry with the current ANC leadership should not be the criterion for membership. Boesak doesn’t add lustre to COPE.
Just the opposite in fact. By welcoming such recruits COPE weakens the credibility of its reported “strong focus on ethical conduct”. There is a price to be paid for lowering your moral standards, as the Democratic Party discovered after embracing the likes of Marthinus van Schalkwyk to form the Democratic Alliance.
The birth of a new party amid great energy and fanfare attracts opportunists. More of them will come out of the woodwork when the election date is announced shortly. At that point wavering ANC leaders in cushy positions can quit the ruling party and still keep their jobs until polling day. COPE should resist the temptation to accept all comers.
Boesak may drive away more voters than he attracts and, judging by his past behaviour, he could embarrass the party in the future.
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