The leader of the Congress of the People (Cope), Terror Lekota, has been one of the members of parliament in the opposition benches who added his voice to the chorus opposed to expropriation of land without compensation.
Lekota was speaking in parliament during the debate of the State of the Nation Address delivered by president Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday.
He said it was contradictory that Ramaphosa, when taking his oath of office, had undertaken to “obey, observe, uphold and maintain” the Constitution, but during his Sona speech the next day, the president spoke about the expropriation of land without compensation. The implementation of this policy would require the Constitution to be amended.
“Section 25 [of the Constitution] says that no one may be deprived of their property. It also says that where expropriation happens it must be with compensation,” Lekota said.
He said this begs the question whether the president had taken his oath to the South African Constitution or to a different one.
Lekota’s response was, however, interrupted by the EFF’s national spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, who rose on a point of order, posing a question to the Cope leader.
“I wanted to ask if honourable Lekota has been paid by fascists of the nationalist party to come and squash the land programme,” Ndlozi said.
The EFF member asked if Lekota had an alternative to addressing the land expropriation issue, adding: “What did you go to Robben Island for, what were you doing on Robben Island?”
EFF leader Julius Malema offered to give Lekota more time to speak, because he was complaining about his time being wasted by points of order, but Malema said this time would be offered on condition that Lekota changed his view on the policy.
After a brief delay, Lekota resumed his response and asked the president: “Are you going to take the properties of the great-grandchildren of the Indian indentured labourers who came here. Whose properties are you going to take?”
Lekota further questioned who the expropriated land would be given to, seeking clarity on the category “our people” who would be given the expropriated land.
“Please tell us, who is not our people in this country. Who is our people, who is not our people?” Lekota questioned, further asking which people, Basotho or otherwise, would be given land.
He further questioned whether the president would amend the Bill of Rights so that land without expropriation could be implemented.