EFF national chairperson Dali Mpofu took to Twitter on Thursday to question President Cyril Ramaphosa’s response, in parliament, to allegations from Cope’s Mosiuoa “Terror” Lekota that he had sold out to apartheid police during the struggle.
As part of Ramaphosa’s emotional response to Lekota, and to the EFF who had called for an inquiry following the allegations, he brought up his imprisonment during apartheid.
“I was arrested and transported to Pretoria Central Prison, where I was in solitary confinement for a solid six months before anyone came to talk to me. At the time, my father was a policeman and, through his efforts, I finally got to see him and he explained to me that they told him they had a lot of things against me.”
Ramaphosa said this led to him being interrogated for information on those he was arrested with, including Lekota, but he refused. He added that the apartheid police put pressure on his father to convince him to turn state witness, which he said he also refused to do.
Mpofu, however, expressed his problems with Ramaphosa’s account, saying he had been in apartheid detention six times, three of which were in solitary confinement. He added that he was never allowed a parental visit, calling on those who were also in solitary confinement to let him know if they were ever allowed to see their parents.
ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula responded that he did indeed receive parental visits while imprisoned in solitary confinement in Grootvlei Maximum Security prison during a state of emergency under apartheid.
While Mbalula’s response stuck to the facts, others were not so kind.
Investigative journalist Sam Sole called Mpofu “unprincipled, shallow, [and] opportunistic” for the tweet.
Gaye Davis, also a journalist, said she was sorry to see the EFF chairperson “reduced to this line of argument”.
Other Twitter users directed insults at Mpofu that don’t need to be repeated.
A few Twitter users also pointed out that Ramaphosa’s father was a policeman, which may have meant that him being sent to see his son was different to a standard parental visit.
Ramaphosa delivered a detailed rebuttal to Lekota, who claimed Ramaphosa allegedly told the apartheid police his fellow ANC members “put communist ideas” in his head in a bid to avoid being sent to Robben Island.
“I have never ever been a spy. I’ve never worked with the enemy. All I’ve done is the commitment to the people of the country,” Ramaphosa said.
He also said that the EFF had been accused of being linked to British intelligence agency MI6 after a trip to London but that he ignored those allegations because he believed in Malema’s “good character”.
The president had strong words for Lekota. “Beware of the wedge-driver. Watch this poisonous snake,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Vhahangwele Nemakonde)