Lim Cope leader suspended over misappropriation of party funds

Patrick Sikhutsi

POLOKWANE – COPE Deputy President, Willie Madisha (MP) on Monday in a telephonic interview said a disciplinary hearing against suspended Limpopo Chairperson Patrick Sikhutsi will be finalised before the end of the month.

Sikhutsi was suspended last week amid an investigation into the misappropriation of party funds.

He brought an urgent court application on Sunday for his suspension to be waivered, but the application failed and was dismissed with costs.

According to Madisha, the matter could have been settled by now had Sikhutsi not approached the Polokwane High Court, “He wasted our time”.

Sikhutsi remains suspended, and a meeting to elect a replacement for him, remains on hold. Sikhutsi told BONUS he would prove his innocence.

“All I can say is that I am not involved in any wrongdoing. The actual details will be discussed at the right forum,” he reportedly said.

On Monday, he said he had not received any charges or notice of a hearing and said a conclusion has already been reached. He maintained the decision to suspend him was illegal and that he was targeted after he raised a motion of no confidence against the party’s president, Mosiuoa Lekota.

Cope’s National Chairperson, Pakes Dikgetsi said the Cope National Committee’s (CNC) investigation had been conducted and tabled at a meeting of the party’s national congress the previous weekend.

“There have been allegations of misappropriation of funds in terms of the rules of Limpopo Legislature and our party’s own regulations,” Dikgetsi said.

Madisha on Monday maintained Cope strives to be corruption free. “I want to emphasise that, as Cope, we are against corruption and we shall be able to prove to the people of our country and our members that there was indeed corruption that he conducted and we, as a national leadership – and he was present and – we said he will go through a proper disciplinary hearing.”

He told BONUS there was confidential information which, in the light of the upcoming hearing, could not be divulged in the media.

Sikhutsi brought a motion of no confidence against the Congress Executive Committee (CEC) at a national committee meeting in February this year.

He said Lekota and Madisha “destroyed structures in the Eastern Cape and were of the intention to do the same in Limpopo”.

At the time Madisha reportedly said all structures calling for heads were disrupting the party and could be suspended.

Dikgetsi however said the move to suspend Sikhutsi had nothing to do with his motion of no confidence.

The CEC will be in Limpopo to meet with its provincial and regional structures to formally announce the decision and to discuss the further strengthening of its structures in the province.

The party was launched in 2008 and pledged selflessness, accountability and transparency and said their leaders will be reliable, accountable and incorruptible.

Sikhutsi hails from Madombidzha, Makhado and matriculated at Litshovhu Secondary School, whereafter he studied teaching at the then Venda College of Education. He taught for 15 years.

Sikhutsi was a member of the ANC and in 1996 he was a member of the Makhado Municipality’s executive committee, and became mayor of Makhado in 2000.

In 2006 he became Vhembe District Municipality’s Chief Whip.

He resigned from the ANC in 2008 and joined Cope.

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Nelie Erasmus

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