COPE Graft uproar

THE Congress of the People representative in the Mpumalanga legislature has been accused of mismanaging R367000.

THE Congress of the People representative in the Mpumalanga legislature has been accused of mismanaging R367000.

The money had been deposited by the legislature into Cope's account for caucus and constituency work.

Sowetan has learnt that Zale Madonsela allegedly arranged with the former treasurer of Cope in the province, Enoch Sambo, to open a new account withStandard Bank.

This was after the secretary of the legislature, Rolson Moropa, had requested Madonsela to provide the legislature with a bank account into which the funds should be deposited.

The legislature deposited R367000 into the account last year.

Cope officials claim that Madonsela kept the money a secret until the party was de-linked in the legislature, which removed its powers to control its finances in the legislature.

This prompted Cope officials to institute an investigation.

Cope provincial secretary Buks Mahlangu confirmed that the de-linking by the legislature had opened a can of worms.

"We discovered that there was money due to the organisation that Madonsela had failed to disclose," Mahlangu said yesterday.

He said the problem became so serious that some staff members were paid late, while UIF deductions were also questionable.

Madonsela refused to comment yesterday, saying she was recuperating at home after a car accident.

In a surprise twist, Sbu Shakwane, Cope's parliamentary researcher assigned by Madonsela to speak on her behalf, insisted that it was Madonsela who had asked the legislature to take over the administration of the financial management of Cope in the legislature.

He said she did this because as Cope was a new political party, it was difficult for it to deal with UIF and tax compliance issues.

"The money was used for paying staff members, purchase furniture and hire machines," Shakwane said.

"Madonsela realised that the problems related to UIF and tax compliance issues could escalate and she asked the legislature to take over the account until things were sorted out."

This was confirmed by the spokesperson for the legislature, Tsholofelo Moreosele.

He said Madonsela was the one who had asked for the account to be controlled by the legislature.

Madonsela was sworn in after Sizile Ndlovu, who had initially been sworn in for the single Cope seat, was forced out in a power struggle.