NEWS & ANALYSIS

Shilowa expelled from COPE - Phillip Dexter

Deputy president found guilty of serious financial mismanagement

Outcomes of the Disciplinary Hearing of Mbhazima Shilowa

The disciplinary process of the former Chief Whip of the party, Mr. Mbhazima Shilowa, has been completed. After evidence was heard from witnesses, the DC completed its business and the Chairperson took a full week to process the recordings and evidence finalising her findings over the weekend. The findings were handed to the Whips on Monday 7 February 2011.  The Chairperson concluded as follows:

"I find that COPE has established that Mr Shilowa is guilty of all the allegations against him and these are summarised below:

i. On 29 January 20101 Mr Shilowa wrongfully authorised the transfer of R5 000 000, 00 from the Parliamentary allowances accounts to the COPE Party account;

ii. In May 2010 Shilowa wrongfully authorised  or purported to authorise payment of R2 124 157, 21 from COPE's Constituency Fund Account and its Parliamentary Fund Account for purposes that were not legitimate or permissible in terms of the Policy on Parliamentary Allowances.

iii. In May 2010 Shilowa made a false Declaration to Parliament in purported compliance with s 8.12.3.(c) of the Parliamentary Policy on Political Parties Allowances; and

iv. On 31 May 2010 Shilowa signed and thereafter submitted to Parliament COPE's audited financial statements knowing that they contained material misrepresentations of the actual disbursements."

The Chairperson continued and stated further that:

"As Mr Shilowa has not offered an account of what went wrong and why, the Party would be entitled to conclude that it has lost all trust and confidence in Shilowa. I recommend that he be expelled from the Party with immediate effect. COPE argues that these violations are so serious that the only sanction can be expulsion from the Party."

The CWC of the party met and received this report. Given its serious nature, an emergency resolution was sent out to members of the CNC and these have been signed and returned, confirming the findings and recommendation of the hearing. Mr. Shilowa is therefore expelled from the party. The necessary administrative processes to give effect to this decision have been implemented and Parliament has been informed of this decision.

This is an unfortunate outcome of a sorry series of events. The leadership of COPE hopes that this can now be put behind the party and its members and leaders can get on with the important work of the party, starting with the contesting the upcoming local government elections without the distraction of these issues. Other matters, including the recovery of these funds, will be discussed by the CWC at its next meeting.

Statement issued by Phillip Dexter, Congress of the People (L), February 8 2011

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