If you take our land, to whom will you give it? - Lekota

COPE leader says the land belongs to all South Africans

If you take our land, to whom will you give it? - Lekota

3 March 2017

Cape Town - Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota has asked Parliament that if South Africa now belongs to everyone, to whom then will land be redistributed?

Lekota was speaking at commemoration event in the National Assembly marking the 20th anniversary of the Constitution, hosted by Speaker Baleka Mbete and NCOP chairperson Thandi Modise.

Former ANC spokesperson Mac Maharaj was moderating the event, and posed the question to a panel of the original drafters of the Constitution why a small portion of the population feels negotiators "sold out" the Constitution.

During his allotted speech, Lekota and others addressed the question, saying thanks to both the Constitution and history, South Africa now belongs to everyone.

"So to whom did we sell out? Unless you don't believe South Africa [belongs to all]," Lekota said.

"This Constitution is a product of all of us. The land some people want to take from others, you'll be taking from our grandparents and great-grandparents.

"We've inherited all of that, the whole country.

"So please be careful. If you want to take our land from us, to whom are you going to give it?"

Historical reminders

Lekota went through a history lesson of who the original inhabitants of the country were.

The Khoi, San, African tribes from the North, Dutch, English, Malay and Phillipino slaves, French Hugenots and German immigrants all contributed to the legacy of the country over centuries.

He said coloured people were born as a result of "all of us", in the same way that the Constitution was a product of all of us.

"They were born here. There is no country called 'coloured land'."

The Constitution will never be renegotiated, and a meeting of that magnititude will never happen again, he said.

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu and DA chief whip John Steenhuisen also spoke at the event.

Also in attendance was former National Party MP Leon Wessels, the co-chairperson of the Constitution Assembly in the early 1990s.

Guests invited to the event included about 120 students from around the country.

They were treated to a 20-minute video highlighting the lead-up to that historic day in May 1996, and the robust negotiations that year, chaired by then ANC MP Cyril Ramaphosa and Wessels.

Many of the guests and politicians smiled as they took the walk down memory lane.

The discussion panel included drafters of the original document in the early 1990s, including IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi and ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe.

The theme was "My Constitution, My Rights, My Responsibilities."