The ANC has served legal papers on Mosiuoa ‘Terror’ Lekota’s breakaway party for using the name Congress of the People, officials said on Tuesday.

The papers include a demand that all promotional material bearing Cope’s name must be delivered to the African National Congress for destruction, said its spokesperson Carl Niehaus.

“We served legal papers on Cope in the form of a lawyer’s letter which was sent to their attorneys yesterday [Monday],” he said.

The letter states: “We believe we enjoy common law in and to the name Congress of the People.”

The ANC argues that the Congress of the People in 1995 was a “seminal, historical event” organised by the ANC and its congress alliance partners. The Freedom Charter was adopted at this event.

Niehaus said the ANC was also concerned about the fact that “in many political circles, the ANC is commonly referred to as the Congress of the People”.

Also, the Nguni translation of the ANC is “khongolese”, which means congress.

“The consequence of this is that there will be serious confusion,” reads the letter.

It requests Cope to “stop using the name, withdraw the trademark applications that have been made [and] cease from registering their Section 21 company under that name”.

The letter asks Cope for an undertaking in writing that it would not use the name or any similar names and that no promotional or advertising material bear the name.

The ANC “requests delivery of all material in their possession for destruction”.

The undertaking not to use the name must be made by Thursday, November 20.

“If they do not abide by this we will be entitled to institute urgent High Court proceedings,” said Niehaus.

He said a copy of the letter had been sent to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

“We have now also registered our objection at the IEC,” said Niehaus.

If the IEC decides the name Cope causes confusion and refuses its application to register for elections, the ANC will not need to go to court.

Cope spokesperson Smuts Ngonyama confirmed that the party had been served with legal papers.

Ngonyama said it would “definitely” continue to use the name Cope.

“They [Cope’s lawyers] will definitely be giving attention to it,” said Ngonyama.