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Mosiuoa Lekota

Mosiuoa Lekota welcomed back by MPs

Mosiuoa Lekota 45%

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Triumphant COPE President Mosiuoa Lekota, who walked through the corridors of Parliament to be sworn in as party parliamentary leader yesterday, will keep a close eye on all the affairs of the party, including its finances.



TRIUMPHANT RETURN: Congress of the People president Mosiuoa Lekota is congratulated yesterday by Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi on his return to National Assembly as party parliamentary leader. With him is COPE MP Juli Killian Picture: ESA ALEXANDER


Lekota was welcomed by National Assembly speaker Max Sisulu during a joint sitting of the house to loud applause from COPE MPs, and howls and laughter from the ANC side of the house.

This was shortly after Western Cape High Court Judge Essa Moosa ruled that a decision taken by COPE's executive committee in July to send him to Parliament to replace Mvume Dandala, who had just resigned, was "lawful and of full force and effect".

COPE's deputy president, Mbhazima Shilowa, supported by administrative head Lolo Mashiane and its Western Cape structure, went to court to prevent Lekota from taking up Dandala's seat on the basis that the central national committee meeting that took a decision to deploy him to parliament was not properly constituted.

Lekota told The Times at the entrance to the National Assembly chamber yesterday that he wanted to see COPE parliamentary funds fully accounted for and properly monitored.

"The budget must be approved by all the structures, and caucus must have proper oversight. I don't need to personally meddle with money, but there must be a transparent process as to how the budget is composed and how it is monitored," he said.

Lekota has previously accused Shilowa, who was accounting officer, of failing to properly account for R20-million in COPE parliamentary funds

He has promised to institute a comprehensive forensic audit into the management of party funds over the past 15 months that COPE has been in Parliament.

Shilowa has denied that party funds were misused on his watch.

The court ordered that Shilowa and Mashiane retain their positions as chief whip and admin head respectively.

Lekota, who has won a series of court victories over Shilowa and his supporters, said yesterday's ruling was not about him going one up again over his deputy, but about ensuring greater accountability in the party.

"We were not happy with the management of resources in COPE," he said.

"Decisions were taken outside of party structures by people who abrogated themselves this power."

Lekota said that while it would be his first time on opposition benches, he had so far been warmly welcomed and received by ANC members, many of whom were his old comrades.

Under his guidance, Lekota said, COPE would focus strongly on policy issues and the interrogation of government programmes and planned to find out if they were benefiting ordinary citizens.





Aug 18, 2010

Source: www.timeslive.co.za


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