The leader of the Congress of the People, Mosiuoa Lekota, has challenged South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, and his governing ANC party to define “this category called our people.”
Speaking to Political Analysis South Africa on Tuesday, 20 February, Lekota says Ramaphosa must answer pertinent questions about his plans for land reform in South Africa, in particular says Lekota, “this category called our people, who are they? What have they done to deserve this kind of advantage over other citizens?”
Lekota explains, “the constitution to which you [Ramaphosa] swore allegiance, grants all of us the same citizenship and the same citizenship rights.”
For Lekota, Ramaphosa’s approach to land reform is reminiscent of apartheid, saying Ramaphosa “came across as sounding as if apartheid must be saved, the notion of Europeans and non-Europeans or white or nonwhite. He is still in that mentality of apartheid, failing to appreciate that South Africa has become a united and democratic country. Unless he moves from that, it is going to mean that he must amend the constitution, the Bill of Rights must in fact be scrapped.”
Lekota says the ANC is only doing this because they want what they call “radical economic transformation,” but this “ignores the fact that through the centuries of history, whenever there were wars, peace treaties were signed and leaders of the time committed themselves to these treaties. The present arrangement in South African society is a result of those multiple wars and treaties. When we ended the war of apartheid, at CODESA [Convention for a Democratic South Africa] we signed this agreement, the constitution, which is the agreement we reached at CODESA.”
For Lekota, the constitution makes provision for “restitution for properties that were taken arbitrarily in the past, especially where title deeds still exist. If a family had been dispossessed under the 1913 land act or any related legislation after 1913, such as the 1936 Land and Trust Act or the Group Areas Act that came with apartheid, all those lands confiscated during that period are registered at the deeds office.”
Lekota says the constitution is also adequate in dealing with land in the former homelands, as well as the land rights stemming from internal migration, from rural to urban areas.
“There is nothing extra needed, we can solve any problem, but the ANC has failed to interpret and practicalize the constitution, now they are imagining strange things – they are going to take some other peoples’ properties.”
“This will only divide society and can lead to a lot of bloodshed,” warns Lekota.