Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota. Picture: Independent Media

Johannesburg - The battle for control of Cope has intensified after allegations of fraud and corruption surfaced against party leaders.

However, the national leadership has dismissed those allegations as the work of a certain grouping which wants to topple Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota, his deputy Willie Madisha, national chairperson Pakes Dikgetsi and deputy general secretary Deidre Carter.

Cope Nelson Mandela Bay spokesperson Thembelani Qondile said they had opened a fraud and corruption case against Cope Eastern Cape MPL Bishop Lievie Sharpley for allegedly misappropriating more than R300 000 of the party’s constituency funds.

The money, he said, had been set aside to procure 10 000 Cope T-shirts for the municipal elections last year. Qondile said they were shocked to get only 3 000 T-shirts. He also alleged that the service provider where they procured the T-shirts was owned by Carter.

“We are making a statement that Cope is against any form of corruption. We won’t tolerate any corrupt conduct among our deployees,” said Qondile.

He said the bishop was not trustworthy and should be sanctioned for dragging through the mud the “mandate that we gave him as Cope members and supporters in the province”.

Sharpley, however, denied Qondile’s allegations and dismissed them as a “total misrepresentation of facts”.

He said while they had ordered 10 000 T-shirts, 3 211 were sent back because they were defective. “There is no fraud and no money was taken. Those who are making the allegations are not even Cope members,” said Sharpley.

He said Carter did not own the company which provided the T-shirts, adding that she had just made a recommendation.

Carter told The Star that the allegations were merely a “ploy by a group of people who are using others to cause divisions in Cope. They are gunning for Lekota, Madisha, Dikgetsi and me. They want to be party representatives. Some don’t even have membership cards. Someone is trying to kill Cope but we are strong.”

Political Bureau