Lekota attacks Shilowa over party funds

2010-04-29 00:00


CONGRESS of the People (Cope) president Mosiuoa Lekota has come out with guns blazing to attack his deputy Sam Shilowa for failing to account for the mismanagement of party funds.

In a statement, which was released at about 7 pm yesterday, Lekota accused Shilowa of giving “unsatisfactory” answers regarding the mismanagement of funds.

Lekota said he had tried on numerous occasions to raise the financial mismanagement matter with the party’s Congress Working Committee (CWC).

Recently it has been reported that Lekota might lose his position to Shilowa during the party elective conference, which is scheduled to take place between May 27 and May 30.

Lekota said the failure to address his concerns has left him “deeply worried”.

“These concerns relate to the possible mismanagement of public funds and even possible fraud with relation to money allocated to the party through Parliament and the Independent Electoral Commission.

“All explanations given to me thus far, by the accounting officer in Parliament [Mvume Dandala] and the deputy president [Shilowa], have been unsatisfactory to say the least,” said Lekota’s statement.

He also threatened to institute a forensic audit into the matter. “I will leave no stone unturned in getting to the bottom of these issues. I am also aware of the fact that certain of the provinces face similar challenges,” he said.

He said he is also concerned about members and leaders of Cope who make wild allegations against other leaders of the party. He said he has called an “Extraordinary Meeting” of the CNC, which will take place on May 1, to brief the party leadership about the financial mismanagement and the behaviour of certain leaders.

“I call on all members of Cope to stand firm for unity against the bullies, factionalists and other elements who are determined to wreck the party if they do not get their way,” Lekota said.

Party spokesperson Phillip Dexter confirmed that Lekota had released the damning statement to the media. “The party has an annual budget of R20 million. But most of the funds have been used to procure goods without following proper tenders. Staff have been paid without tax being deducted from their salaries. There are many other issues,” said Dexter.

Dexter said that Lekota had raised the issues with the CNC several times in an attempt to get an explanation from Dandala and Shilowa.

Attempts to get Shilowa to respond to the statement failed, as he was apparently out of the country.

Cope Youth Movement leader Anele Mda said she was not aware of corruption in the party. She accused Lekota of fighting to retain his position. “Under normal circumstances there is no president of any political party who behaves like Lekota. He is behaving the same way as he did in the ANC.”

Mda said there is clear indication that Lekota, who co-founded the party with Shilowa after they both defected from the ANC, will lose his position to Shilowa. “Only Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal support Lekota. Even in KwaZulu-Natal, there is only one branch, which supports him.”

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