Cope broke - claim

2010-10-24 16:31
Johannesburg - The Congress of the People (Cope) is broke and battling to raise funds for its upcoming national elective conference, to be held in the Free State in two weeks’ time.

Infighting over leadership positions between interim president ­Mosiuoa Lekota and deputy Mbhazima Shilowa has alienated potential funders and their battle threatens the upcoming three-day conference, scheduled to take place at Thaba 'Nchu’s Assemblies of God church from November 5 to 7.

Three party officials said Cope had approached high-profile Gauteng businessmen to help raise funds for the event. Business people who initially funded the party have held back donations and demanded that Cope first solve its leadership squabbles ­before they pump money into the troubled organisation.

The party’s coffers are so dry that it has been forced to move the conference - initially earmarked to be staged in Gauteng - to the Free State because “there was no available venue in ­Gauteng to host the event”.

But City Press has found that two conference venues, including St George’s Park, where the party’s previous chaotic conference was held in May, were available to host the event.


Five months after the aborted conference at the Centurion venue, where delegates representing the warring factions caused damage worth an undisclosed amount of money, Cope is yet to settle the more than R2m bill for the St George’s Hotel.

Part of the squabble between Lekota and Shilowa involves funds from Parliament the party used to finance the court case of Cope MPs Dennis Bloem and Lekoba Jack Tolo.

In a week in which intense campaigning for elections started, Lekota demoted Shilowa from his position as the party’s chief whip in Parliament over the alleged misuse of the state’s funding to Cope.

Lekota on Friday confirmed that the party still owed money for delegates’ accommodation and “other ­related expenditure” for its disastrous May indaba.

Lekota insisted that the party had enough money to hold the upcoming event, but Cope’s national organiser, Mluleki George, confirmed that there was not enough money available to convene a conference.

Cope treasurer Hilda Ndude could not be drawn to comment on the finances of the organisation, saying the matter would be discussed at the party congress working committee meeting. She wouldn’t say when this meeting would take place.

An Eastern Cape source sympathetic to Shilowa said the party had “experienced problems” finding a conference venue in Gauteng.

On Friday George said they had found a venue in Thaba 'Nchu, outside Bloemfontein in Free State.

Funders 'uneasy'

“Funds must be available and will be available. It is also in our interest that it (the conference) must take place. We can’t go on like this,” he said.

George downplayed the lack of funds and funders.

“Once we have held a conference we won’t have a problem with money. Many people want to fund us, but they want us to do the right thing first and elect leadership.”

Lekota confirmed that the party’s “bad image” had made it difficult for it to raise funds, saying potential funders were “uneasy” and wanted to know “if we have proper systems” in place.

George issued a statement saying the venue for the conference had been paid for, prompting Cope spokesperson Phillip Dexter to hit back, saying George’s comments were “factional”.

Said Dexter: “George claims that the venue for the congress is paid for. If it is, it has been paid for from funds not declared to the party. This kind of factional funding, including paying for membership of branches, is what Cope is opposed to. George will have to account for how the funding was raised for the congress venue.”

Leadership battles continue

The leadership battles are far from over. Lekota accused Shilowa of submitting a fraudulent declaration to Parliament, that the party had proper systems and controls to manage the funds it got from the state. He alleged that the signature of auditor Anton Louw had been forged.

The removal of Shilowa, he said, was not about “fighting an individual” but was aimed at “creating a credible organisation”.

Shilowa said he was not worried that he might face criminal charges.

“I want Terror (Lekota) to prove to any judge that either me or anybody has forged that signature,” he said.
Read more on:    cope  |  mbhazima shilowa  |  mosiuoa lekota  |  politics

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


New GIF keyboard on iOS for added fun!

Soon sending an LOL! or facepalm will be so much more fun!


For chic geeks...

Puppy goes crazy over iPad game
Printable solar panels will bring exciting new opportunities!
Now there’s a special lane for texting while walking
LOL! 7 brutally honest texts from parents

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


There is a tendency to fight against the current today but this will just use up a lot of energy and not get you very far. more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.