Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)
COPE leader Mosiuoa Lekota says South Africans have become too distracted by EFF leader Julius Malema, who he compared to a "little fly who has dropped in milk".
In an address filled with rhetorical questions and liberal use of parables, Lekota told the Cape Town Press Club on Friday that Afrikaans could be seen as "the most South African language" and that Codesa negotiations were "the best possible solution at the time". He also asked attendees: "Why is Malema so important?"
Lekota took members on a whistlestop tour of history, from the days when the indigenous inhabitants of South Africa, the Khoi and San, had exclusive domain over the land, to the arrival of Bantu-speaking and European groups, slaves and then, hurriedly, to the advent of the democratic state.
On Codesa negotiations, Lekota said "a lot of thought had gone into producing that Constitution and I remain convinced that there is no other way to go."
Everyone represented at Codesa
"All the people of South Africa were represented in Codesa... there was nobody at Codesa who was not South African."
Lekota said that the "Constitution summarises the issues that we were faced with" and "we have to realise that indeed we are a varied people."
"In the Constitution, it says, South Africa is one sovereign democratic state. Look at Section 1 of the Constitution. Malema, and even Cyril [Ramaphosa], they don't read the Constitution," he claimed.
"As I said, there was nobody who was a foreigner in that meeting... now to who have we sold out?"
News24 previously reported that Lekota, who was part of the countrywide Constitutional Review Committee hearings on the intended amendment of section 25 of the Constitution, was called a sellout for standing firmly by his view that there is no need to amend the Constitution or to expropriate land without compensation.
On the issue of radicalism and the rise of newer political formations, he said: "I hear a lot of talk about the EFF. South Africa is a place where... South Africans they live in this country but it seems to me they never know what happens in this country."
He said that from Monday to Friday, South Africans go to and return from work. On Saturdays, they enjoy leisure time and watch sport and on Sundays, millions of people fill up churches.
But their lives are disturbed by "this little, little fly" which "has flown into the milk".
''They don't see the milk anymore, they only see the fly.''
"Why is Malema important?" he asked.
"Did you see his placards? 'Son of the soil'. That is what [Robert] Sobukwe and others said in '59 and 1960, son of the soil. He pretends it's his soil."
This wouldn't be the first time that Lekota made his opposition to the EFF leader known. News24 previously reported that the two party leaders got into a heated argument at a public hearing on land expropriation in Limpopo.
On President Ramaphosa, Lekota stated that "people are optimistic about Cyril" but added that "I know one Cyril, people know another."
Referring to the ANC president and the current political balancing act he finds himself in, Lekota said that Ramaphosa was like "a man standing in the deep of a river surrounded by crocodiles" and that he can only survive for as long as he is able to throw pieces of meat.
"That is the [current] ANC that has gone through Zuma," he added.