| OVERVIEW: Why Mosiuoa Lekota insisted to address Cyril Ramaphosa in #SONADebate

Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota on Wednesday accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of selling out ANC leaders who he was detained with during the 70s.

Members of Parliament, for a second day, were responding to Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address.

Just as Lekota took the podium, he was told by stand-in speaker Thandi Modise “honourable Lekota, the president just stepped out, you can continue”. 

However, Lekota responded: “Madam speaker, shouldn’t I wait for the president? I would like… I would like…”

“No, no honourable Lekota, now you are wasting your time,” interjected Modise.

“No, no, no. The president addressed me when he was here on the podium. I want the president because I want to answer some of the things he said to me. He called me by name. He called me by name.”

Modise reminded Lekota that the president could step out and return, adding: “If you do not exercise the 4 minutes allocated to you, you will forfeit it.”  

A Cope MP then suggested that an ANC speaker address the House and then allow Lekota to respond when the president returns, but this was turned down. The EFF initially said Lekota was holding the House to ransom, but later volunteered to give him 8 minutes of their time. This was also turned down.

“This issue of selling out is very important,” EFF leader Julius Malema said.

Watch the clip

“Last week the President was on this spot here when he invited me, among others, to join him. I don’t know to what trip,” said Lekota.

“I do want to say to the president today, I was a bit puzzled that you introduced Rooseveld in all that you spoke about. I’d like to say we must come back to South Africa because I was never in the United States to struggle, we struggled here,” he said.

“And I do want to say to you Mr President that we were invited on a trip of struggle by the preeminent leader of the students of our time – the late Steve Biko – who said to us we must fight the struggle.”

Lekota recalled that Biko said: “In case of danger, or living conditions that threaten human life, we must accept life for what it is or not at all.” 

He said about two years later in about 1974 some ANC members were detained. “[Y]ou, with us in detention, when it was difficult, you wrote to the special branch, that we put communist ideas in your head. In doing so, you condemned us, to the special branch,” Lekota told Ramaphosa.

“I say this to you because the special branch rewarded you as they always reward their victims and they sent you home and we headed to Robben Island.”

Lekota said he won’t join Ramaphosa on the trip he suggested. “I
will not join you because you made your choice then and I made my choice.”

Watch how day 2 of the SONA debate unfolded:

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