COPE does not have a clear policy barring its leaders from receiving tenders.
Deputy president Mbhazima Shilowa said yesterday that the situation had created an impression that its leaders were using party funds to garner support.
Shilowa was defending himself against allegations that he had engineered a process that led to his ally and fervent supporter, Cope Youth Movement leader Malusi Booi, getting a R580000 contract to fit the party's parliamentary office.
Shilowa said there was no clear policy outlawing party members from bidding for business from the organisation. But he said his view was that such a policy should be formulated after the party's elective congress on May 27-30.
"I think we need guidelines that exclude leaders . but you can't exclude the general members . just because you are Cope you can't get a contract.
"But it must exclude leaders . and those are the kind of rules I'd like to see," he said.
The decision to award the contract to Booi's company, C-yoyo Logistics, is at the heart of the fallout between the Shilowa camp and another faction led by party president Mosiuoa Lekota.
Lekota has accused Shilowa of misusing a R20million party fund allocated by Parliament.
During an interview with Sowetan, Shilowa rejected suggestions that he was using party coffers to fund his bid to unseat Lekota.
He said the only time party funds were used to his benefit was when Cope leaders in the Western Cape hired a security company to provide protection for him before he made a public address.
"I was not even aware of where the money came from until the accountant (at the Cope parliamentary office) Pat Gamede informed me about it," Shilowa said.
He said he had undertaken to repay the R18500 because he wouldn't have approved it.
It remains unclear who approved the transactions as Cope MP Juli Killian has also rejected Shilowa's accusations that she might have approved it.
"The payment to this company was made in my absence, when I was out of the country. I did not sign for it and so I could not have alerted Mr Shilowa to it.
"I have not signed for this expense nor any other expense related to the campaign of the chief whip, Mbhazima Shilowa," said Killian, one of the co-signatories in the Cope caucus.