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COPE President - Mosiua Gerald Patrick Lekota

DID YOU KNOW? His Nickname Terror comes from his playing style on the soccer field.

Life journey of the President

Mosiua Patric Gerald Lekota was born in Kroonstad, He had his primary education at Emma Farm School and most of his secondary education at Mariazel High School in Matatiele. However, he matriculated at St. Francis College in Mariannhill in 1969, And after he matriculated, Although he enrolled for a social science degree at the University of the North, Mosioua Patric Gerald Lekota was expelled due to his Student Representative Council- and Black Consciousness Movement-aligned South African Students' Organisation (SASO) activities in 1972.


Lekota became a permanent organiser for SASO in 1974, but was imprisoned at Robben Island Prison for "conspiring to commit acts endangering the maintenance of law and order" during the same year. He had organised victory rallies to celebrate the independence of Mozambique. He was released from prison in 1982. After his release, he was elected publicity secretary of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in 1983. In 1985, Lekota was detained and later sentenced in the Delmas Treason Trial. However, he was released in 1989 after the Appeal Court reviewed the sentence. The Delmas Treason Trial was one of the most important treason trials in the last days of apartheid. It enunciated policies to be embodied in the post-apartheid society like non-racial equality before the law, reconciliation with major politicians who had supported apartheid and respect for the rule of law. In 1990, Lekota became convenor of the African National Congress in Southern Natal and was subsequently elected to the ANC's National Executive Committee (NEC) and its National Working Committee (NWC). He was appointed as the ANC's Chief of Intelligence in 1991 and elected as secretary for the organisation's electoral commission in 1992. After the first fully democratic elections in South Africa in 1994, Lekota was elected premier of the Free State province. He held this position until 1996. Lekota subsequently served as the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces from 1997 to 1999, before being appointed Minister of Defence. In this position he was responsible for ordering eight A400M military transport aircraft from Airbus by the Armscor parastatal in 2005, for a price of R17bn. He was also elected as National Chairperson of the ANC in December 1997, a position which he held until 2007. He was succeeded by Baleka Mbete. Following the resignation of President Thabo Mbeki in September 2008, Lekota was one of ten ministers who submitted their resignations,

the president' picture

On 8 October 2008, Lekota announced that the faction of the party that was loyal to Mbeki would serve "divorce papers", indicating a secession from the ANC and the creation of a new political party. This was duly carried out, making it the first mass schism from the ANC since the creation of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania in 1959 during the apartheid period. The announcement was both rejected and played down by leaders of the ANC, with heavy derision coming from the South African Communist Party. However, the announcement of a new party for disaffected members of the ANC was welcomed by opposition party leaders, including Helen Zille of the Democratic Alliance and Bantu Holomisa of the United Democratic Movement. On 14 October, the ANC suspended both Lekota's and Mluleki George's memberships. After a further bout of legal squabbling with the ANC, it was decided that the new party be named the Congress of the People (COPE).

Leader of the congress of the people

On 16 December, 2008, Lekota announced his candidacy for the leadership of COPE: being the only candidate, he was elected without a vote and announced as the first President of COPE at the convention. His Deputies, Mbhazima Shilowa and Lynda Odendaal, were also announced.
Mr Lekota was a leader of the United Democratic Front and a key defendant in the Delmas Treason Trial, 1985 to 1988. The Delmas Treason Trial was one of the most important treason trials in the last days of apartheid.