Mosiuoa Lekota has played the game of politics for decades, so it is tempting to see his move to woo white people to vote for his Congress of the People (Cope) party as nothing more than cynical expediency.
Cope, which began life as a breakaway from the ANC, has failed to live up to its launch dream of being a true nonracial, democratic party, committed to clean government.
It started off well, getting 37 seats in parliament in 2009, but this fell to just three in the 2014 poll. So Lekota clearly needs something if Cope is to make a comeback.
He has correctly identified the issue of land – and the prospect of expropriation without compensation – as something which troubles many whites, particularly Afrikaners. He has struck up good relationships with the conservative AfriForum grouping, which shares many of his ideas on how land should be redistributed.
Cope might also appeal to those white voters whose traditional home has been the DA but who feel it has lost direction in the past few years.
In Lekota’s favour is that he has always been a man of the “Mandela generation” and what he says he genuinely believes.
Voters will watch with interest.