Cope: Constitution caters for land restitution and redistribution

The Constitution adequately caters for land restitution and redistribution, and any programme on reform needs to be done responsibly, the Congress of the People said on Sunday.

“The position that has been articulated by our president, comrade Mosiuoa Lekota, regarding our support for the present Constitution and its property clause reflects the policy position of our party and we support him 100%. No distortions and distractions like imbecilic racist attacks and insults will deter him and Cope from telling the truth,” Free State provincial secretary, Mzwandile Hleko said in a statement.

“All sound minded people in our country agree that the Constitution does adequately cater for restitution and redistribution. Both the NDP and the Kgalema Motlanthe High Level Panel make sound and proper observations and recommendations on land reform, which we support.

“Cope stands for a responsible land reform programme and shall never mislead our people for cheap popularity just to win votes.”

The National Assembly on Tuesday set in motion a process to amend the Constitution so as to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation after a motion was brought by EFF leader Julius Malema.

A total of 241 voted for, and 83 against the motion, with the DA, Freedom Front Plus, Cope and the ACDP not in support.

READ MORE: Land expropriation: ‘ANC gifted a scapegoat to explain away its own failure’

The matter will now be referred to the Constitutional Review Committee which must report back to Parliament by August 30.

Hleko said the problem with land reform was the “absolute failure by successive ANC governments since 1996 to properly and effectively implement the provisions of the Constitution”.

“This is because of incompetence and corruption. Out of desperation and blatant opportunism occasioned by dwindling voter support, they now jump into the irresponsible bandwagon of cheap populism and misplaced militancy that threatens to tear apart the very foundational values of nation building.

“We are aware that Parliament has resolved to undertake a constitutional review process on the matter and we will be mobilising like-minded forces to make our submissions when the right time comes. We are confident that by August 30, we shall be proven right again.”

What is called the “stolen land” narrative was a false one, Hleko said.

“We call on the ANC to pronounce themselves, unambiguously … as to whether they have now changed historical policy and abandoned the Freedom Charter in favour of the racist rhetoric of both the EFF and the PAC.”

Hleko accused the ANC and EFF of stoking racial hatred by “dividing the country between the so-called ‘our’ people and the rest”.

“This is a short-sighted approach aimed at 2019 elections and is a recipe for disaster. We want to remind the ANC that it was Nelson Mandela who taught all of us to build a future where there is no white domination and black domination.

“As the Congress of the People, we are going to embark on a process of a consultations with other patriotic stakeholders, NGOs, CBOs and other political parties to discuss and develop a response to the threat to the Constitution of the Republic and nation building.”

Lekota said in the debate following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address, 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.

“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?”

He later added: “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?”

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