Cope Youth welcomes Shilowa's expulsion
Johannesburg - Cope's youth movement aligned itself to co-founder Mosiuoa Lekota on Wednesday, saying it welcomed his announcement that his political rival, Mbhazima Shilowa, had been suspended.
"We salute president Lekota for his brave, principled and uncompromising stance in rooting out corrupt elements from within our own house," Congress of the People youth president Nqaba Bhanga said.
"Having studied the judgment, we have the utmost confidence that due process has been followed to the letter of the law," he said.
Lekota announced on Tuesday that an internal disciplinary committee had found Shilowa guilty of wrongfully authorising the transfer of R5m from the parliamentary allowance accounts to Congress of the People (Cope) party accounts, and of submitting the party's financial statements to Parliament knowing that they contained "material misrepresentations".
It also found him guilty of authorising a payment of over R2m for purposes that were not legitimate or permissible.
Parliament acknowledged receipt of a letter from Cope on Tuesday, informing it that Shilowa had consequently been expelled from the party.
"Shilowa used the semi-autonomous bodies of Cope to further his own ends, resulting in Cope Youth Movement becoming an internal opposition to the mother body.
"The politics of systematically sowing division within the party came at the expense of key... activities of the youth movement, and it was fuelled by rampant patronage," Bhanga said.
He said that while it was a relief that Shilowa had been expelled, it was imperative that the party move forward.
'Time for performance'
"Now that many of the... stumbling blocks have been removed from the party, it is time for performance. There can be no more excuses, and we stand ready to serve Cope in the local government election campaign by mobilising the youth vote."
Shilowa has consistently denied his guilt and refused to participate in the disciplinary hearings.
But Shilowa's spokesperson, Sipho Ngwema, dismissed the expulsion announcement as "theatrical frolics" and the "publicity stunts of an attention-seeking, older-order politician". He called on the public to ignore it.
"Cope calls on the public and media to ignore the dramatic antics and inconsequential pronouncements of its former president and leader of Parliament, Mosiuoa Lekota," he said.