Party not coping with finances

The Congress of the People's accounting systems are in chaos and the party might lose its parliamentary funding , according to a Cape Town firm of accountants.

Visser Louw Professional Accountants South Africa sent the results of an "inside look at the accounting systems of Cope" to the Cope leadership last week.

A copy of the document in Sowetan's possession reveals that Cope staff members do not have letters of appointment and that the party has not yet paid its employees' PAYE tax .

The accountants say unless Cope's accounts receive a clean audit by the end of May, the party will not receive its parliamentary funding.

"Systems will have to be put in place. People, no matter what their positions in Cope, will have to abide with the rules," the accounting firm says.

Cope wanted the accounting firm to do a proper audit of its systems before their elective conference in May. But the accounting firm has ruled that out.

"There can be no suggestion of an audit being done as none of the groundwork is in place. In my opinion there is no accounting system in place," writes Anton Louw, co-owner of the accounting firm, in the document.

"I'm shocked about the way the accounting department has been handled to date. In my opinion there are a few individuals with agendas in the party who want to be in charge of this department.

"Nobody knows who is actually taking control over it and a lot of people are involved.

"This, in my opinion, can cause huge mismanagement of funds. There are too many people with access to bank accounts and too many people authorising payments."

Cope accounting officer and chief whip Mbhazima Shilowa says an audit of their accounts has started and will be completed by mid-April.

Shilowa says the report has been leaked as part of a smear campaign against him ahead of Cope's elective conference.