COPE bank account is only left with R19 000

The Congress of the People in Limpopo could face liquidation after it was allegedly found that the party is left with R19,000 in its coffers, following the findings by a lawyer representing two of the party’s employees who claimed not to have been paid for over a year.

Two Cope employees, who have since stopped working for the party, approached their lawyer to demand payment for unpaid salaries.

Dolly Rakheila, the party’s finance officer in Limpopo, and Darius Sefara, the administrative officer, have allegedly not been receiving their payments since January last year.

The third employee, Rinah Mabotja, who worked as a cleaner, died in April last year, while allegedly being owed by the party.

The lawyer representing Rakheila and Sefara, advocate Modidima Mannya, told Sowetan yesterday the unpaid salaries owed to his clients were estimated at R400,000. Mannya said he had obtained a writ of execution from the Polokwane High Court to attach the party’s bank account but that the account only had R19,000.

Rakheila started working for the party in August 2013, while Sefara was employed in April 2013.

“My clients used to get paid on the 25th of each month but they started not receiving their payments in January last year,” Mannya said.

“I then applied for an attachment of the party’s bank account so that my clients could get their dues, but I was shocked to be told by the sheriff that there was only R19,000 remaining in their [Cope’s] bank account [in the province.”

He said the discovery was made three weeks ago and that he was left with no option but to apply for liquidation of the party.

“The party has failed to honour its commitment to pay its employees because there is no money in its account, as per the information I received from the sheriff,” Mannya said.

“I’m worried that the party’s leaders are travelling everywhere during their election campaigns to mobilise support and I don’t know where they are getting the money from.”

Sefara told Sowetan yesterday the nonpayment was affecting him as he was unable to support his wife and three children.

“But I hope that our lawyer will assist us through our struggles and give us a way forward. Life has been tough without getting a salary that I have worked for,” said the 48-year-old Seshego-based man.

“We had to borrow funds and struggle to put up a high court case against the abusive practices of this political party.”

Rakheila, who also has three children, said what worried her was that no one from Cope said when they would be paid.

“No one cares to talk to us about our payments,” said the woman from Magawu village near Louis Trichardt.

A Cope senior official in the province, who asked not to be named, confirmed to Sowetan yesterday funds were dry in the party’s bank account.

“It’s true that only R19,000 is left in the party.”

However, Cope’s general secretary Papi Kganare disputed the allegations, but did not disclose how much was in the bank account.

“It’s not true that there is R19,000 left. We just got paid a lot of money from the Independent Electoral Commission and we are using that money for electioneering,” said Kganare.

He said they were opposing the action by the lawyer.

“It is true that those people who are owed were employed by Cope but they never liked us… We will oppose whatever move to frustrate us,” he said.

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