Leader of Congress of the People (Cope) Mosiuoa Lekota on Monday announced in a joint press conference with Afrikaner rights group AfriForum that the two organisations would be working together to fight expropriation of land without compensation.
Lekota said their main aim would be to ask other countries to pressurise South Africa not to amend the “illegal” amendment of section 25 of the constitution relating to property rights.
Cope spokesperson Glacier Nkhwashu said in a later statement, though, that Lekota had not discussed this partnership with his party’s congress executive committee (CEC) – apparently because Lekota had found himself on a tight schedule and neglected to remember to do so.
“The general secretary of the party, Ms Lyndall Shope-Mafole received an explanation from president Lekota to the effect that the matter had been in planning for some time and the omission to place it on the agenda of the CEC was an unfortunate oversight that happened as a result of the tight schedule, for which he asked for an apology (sic).
“The CEC expressed its disquiet but accepted the apology tendered to it by president Lekota for the unfortunate oversight referred to above and calls on all those who were aggrieved to do the same.”
Lekota and AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel on Monday alleged that parliament did not have a legal mandate from voters to change the constitution.
AfriForum said in a statement that it was working “to defend the Constitution, property rights and the 1994 settlement”.
They accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of violating his oath of office by not upholding, defending and respecting the constitution – something his predecessor Jacob Zuma once had to apologise to the nation for.
The constitution has been changed 17 times since 1996, but Lekota alleges that the current decision by the ANC to apparently force through constitutional change before next year’s elections would be illegal.
Lekota and AfriForum see their cooperation “as a positive example of how citizens from different backgrounds and who may sometimes have different viewpoints can in fact cooperate successfully through mutual recognition and respect and by focusing on matters of a shared interest”, according to AfriForum’s statement.
In Cope’s statement, the party’s leadership said they would support the move.