Lekota challenges the race-ultras on land and EWC

COPE leader asks Cyril Ramaphosa why non-blacks are being excluded from the concept of "our people"

'Whose land will you take? Who is not our people?' - Lekota

Cape Town - Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota has asked President Cyril Ramaphosa and Parliament who will decide who gets the land, if they go ahead with plans for land expropriation without compensation. Ramaphosa told Parliament, during his maiden State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Friday, that the ANC will go ahead with plans to amend the Constitution to allow expropriation without compensation.

Lekota, speaking during Monday's SONA debate, argued that Section 25 of the Constitution states that no one may be deprived of their property. It also states that, where there is expropriation, it must be with compensation, he said. "The question, therefore, arose whether President Ramaphosa took his oath to that Constitution or some other Constitution. "Economic Freedom Fighters MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi then rose on a point of order and asked Lekota how much "fascists from the National Party" were paying him to give his speech.

"What did you go to Robben Island to do? What is your alternative to get the land back?" Ndlozi asked him. Earlier in his speech, Lekota ignored his question and continued, but not before he accused the House of sabotage - in a funny moment - for taking three minutes from his speech time. 'Are you going to take land from former refugees, slaves?' After moving on from his grievances about his lost three minutes, he continued with his speech.

"Are you going to take the properties of the great grandchildren of the Indian indentured labourers who came here?" Lekota asked. "Are you going to take the properties of the French Hugenots and German refugees who came here, running away from religious wars in Europe? "Is it going to be the property of great-grandchildren of slaves who came from the Malay peninsula and Philippines islands?"

The EFF benches and some ANC MPs shouted: "Yes!" EFF leader Julius Malema rose on a point of order and added: "The answer is yes." Lekota continued his questions: ""This Constitution says we are all South Africans. Who will you take the land from whom, and to whom will you give it?" "If you are going to give the land to our people, please tell us: Who is not our people in this country? Am I not one of you?"

At this, Democratic Alliance MPs started applauding.

'Everything will still be discussed'

EFF MP Sam Matiase then asked Lekota if he would take a question. "I'm asking the questions, you must answer them," Lekota hit back as MPs laughed again. The National Party had defined people along European and non-European lines, he added. His time then expired. Deputy Minister for Rural Development and Land Reform Mcebisi Skwatsha then spoke and clarified the land issue. He cautioned against MPs running away with answers on land, as the process must still come through Parliament and be subject to genuine debate.

"We should treat with caution the issue of the land question, across the board. There is no decision [yet] that will be imposed by the government. "Everything will be discussed, both by this Parliament and all of us fellow South Africans." The debate continued on Monday. It is due to end at 20:00.