Ngonyama wages peace

2010-12-13 00:00

DIVISIONS in the Congress of the People (Cope) in KwaZulu-Natal were again visible at the weekend as some top provincial leaders of the organisation “boycotted’’ a meeting called by the party’s national task team (NTT) to map the way forward as the party prepares for the national elective congress this week.

The NTT, comprised of four Cope national leaders, Ndzipo Khalipha who is also the convenor, Smuts Ngonyama, Cope national spokesperson Philip Dexter and Mluleki George, had scheduled a meeting at Cope’s provincial office at Fenton House in Durban on Saturday.

The NTT was established by Cope’s national office bearers as a response to Cope KZN’s internal squabbles that saw a certain faction declaring a vote of no confidence in the whole provincial leadership of the organisation in the province.

The main source of the conflict within Cope are allegations of financial mismanagement regarding the use of R1,4 million allocated to Cope by the provincial legislature.

Top KZN Cope leaders, including provincial secretary Philip Mhlongo and provincial chairperson and Cope’s KZN MPL Lucky Gabea, did not attend the meeting, which was the last KZN meeting before the party sends its delegates to Cope’s first national congress scheduled for Pretoria on Wednesday and Thursday.

The meeting, which was chaired by Ngonyama, had to be moved to a beachfront hotel after Mhlongo “disappeared’’ with the office keys.

Some leaders who attended the weekend meeting described Mhlongo’s action as an attempt to sabotage the meeting as the faction he is aligned to is believed to be against the appointment of the NTT overCope’s affairs in the province.

In an attempt to normalise the situation before this week’s congress, the NTT announced the establishment of sub-committees comprised of leaders from both factions.

Ngonyama said out of 34 Cope branches in KZN that have submitted their credentials to send delegates to the congress, only 10 qualified and 24 had to go through an appeal process, which is expected to be verified before Wednesday.

A financial committee comprised of George and other provincial leaders has been established and among its tasks will be to investigate the allegations of financial irregularities regarding the R1,4 million allocated to the party by the legislature.

“As we are doing nationally through forensic auditing, we want to ensure that there is clean financial governance in each province,’’ Ngonyama said.

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