‘You sellout’: Lekota lashed at land hearings
Insults fly as fired-up Mafikeng residents shout down COPE leader's views on expropriation
COPE president Mosiuoa Lekota came under attack for his views on land expropriation at the parliamentary hearings in Mafikeng in North West on Wednesday.
Several speakers lashed out at Lekota in the presence of other politicians, including the EFF's Julius Malema and Godrich Gardee, and DA MP Gynnis Breytenbach.
Lekota has repeatedly argued that although he supports expropriation, the state must pay for the land.
However, the majority of those who attended Wednesday’s hearing supported the amendment of the Section 25 of the constitution for expropriation of land without compensation.Moegi Gaidi looked at Lekota and addressed him directly: “You are a sellout. This is the land of black people. You are a disgrace to say white people paid for the land and they must be compensated. No ... Like it or not, we are taking the land.”
Another resident, Sifiso Masikile, launched an attack on Lekota: “One of the revolutionary documents in South Africa, the Freedom Charter, speaks volumes that the land must be owned by black people. We are not going to be romantic, like Lekota, who are in a romance with white people and with white monopoly capital.
“You (Lekota) are failing to advance the struggle of black people. We are not going to massage the feelings of white people.”About 600 residents attended Wednesday’s hearing in Mafikeng. Parliament’s constitutional review committee heard at least 100 comments throughout the day – some against the amendment but most in favour.
Residents given the chance to speak became emotional at times, shaking their fists and shouting into the microphone.
Residents who opposed the amendment to the Constitution came under fire. One of the targets of the crowd’s scorn, Tsholofelo Biganyo, introduced herself as a member of the DA.
“We don’t need to change the Constitution to address this issue of land ... People must own their land because they are the ones who best know how to use it,” she said.
As Biganyo left the microphone the word “sellout” rang out, although there were others who agreed with her.
Sunette Viljoen said that occupying land without a title deed “means nothing”.
“Without money, land is useless. Land without a title deed means nothing, irrespective of race. Now it is becoming a situation of two wrongs that must make a right,” she said.But for the majority who spoke in support of a constitutional amendment, the land debate was clearly an emotional issue.
Dikago Pule, a former student activist, addressed Malema directly.
“In 2012, when you (Malema) were here, we spoke about land. Black people have been subjected to chains of poverty ... I am supporting the expropriation of land without compensation but I’m not supporting that it must be owned by government,” he said.
The North West leg of parliament’s public hearings will continue in Rustenburg on Thursday.