Cope leaders in power squabbles

A TUG of war has erupted between two powerful Cope leaders in Mpumalanga.

The war of words is between Zale Madonsela, the party's only member of the Mpumalamga legislature, and Buks Mahlangu, the organisation's provincial secretary.

This follows Sowetan's exposé about Madonsela being accused of mismanaging R367000 that the legislature had deposited into Cope's account for caucus and constituency work

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

That was the beginning of a cold war that ended in several accusatory SMSes about power mongering flying from one cellphone to the other.

Part of an SMS that Madonsela wrote to Mahlangu says: "It is clear that you don't even understand how the legislature works.

" I really take offence when senior people like yourself behave in this manner. Are you positioning yourself for the legislature?"

"If so, present your allegations to national without tarnishing my image in public."

Madonsela also said when she spoke to Mahlangu about Sars she was hoping he would assist.

"Today ure (sic) agenda too has been revealed and is not different frm that of bheki (sic), God help us all," says Madonsela's SMS to Mahlangu.

Sowetan understands that Madonsela was referring to Cope provincial treasurer Bheki Malaza as one whose agenda is similar to that of Mahlangu.

Mahlangu confirmed having received the SMS and many others but decided not to talk about them.

"She has sent me a number of undermining and shocking SMSes but I have decided not to respond since I do not want to talk about their contents now."

Madonsela confirmed having sent the SMSes plus a copy to the Sowetan, saying she had nothing to hide.

She was sworn in in the provincial legislature shortly after the inauguration of Premier David Mabuza following a dramatic twist of events that resulted in "irreparable damage" to the party.

Madonsela's seat was first held by Sizile Ndlovu, head of Cope's provincial organising committee.

Bu he was forcibly removed from the seat by the party a week after he had addressed Mabuza about service delivery in his inauguration speech.

National spokesperson Phillip Dexter told Sowetan last week that the party's working committee would meet today (Monday) to discuss a report in which Cope leaders in Mpumalanga had recalled Madonsela amid reports of financial mismanagement.