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Johannesburg - The Congress of the People (Cope) and civil organisation Afriforum announced on Monday that they have joined forces to lobby against the African National Congress (ANC) plan to amend the constitution in order to expropriate land without compensation.

Cope leader Mosiua Lekota and Afriforum CEO Kallie Kriel held a joint media briefing in Pretoria. The two said they were against "infringement of property rights" that are guaranteed by the constitution.

"Mosiuoa Lekota, president of the South African opposition party COPE, and Kallie Kriel, CEO of the civil rights organisation AfriForum, will visit foreign embassies in South Africa together to request that the international community apply pressure on the South African government and the ruling ANC to honour the South African constitution, property rights and the 1994 settlement , and that the ANC accepts that they don’t have a legitimate mandate from South African voters via an election to amend the Constitution," the organisations said.

"The embassies to be visited will be announced as soon as the appointments have been made." 

Lekota, whose party is a breakaway from the ANC, said President Cyril Ramaphosa and the governing ANC had no "legitimate" mandate from South Africans to amend section 25 of the country's constitution.

"The December 2017 [ANC] Nasrec conference resolution by the ANC does not constitute a legitimate mandate from South African voters. Parliament’s legitimacy is also in question after they failed to hold [former president Jacob] Zuma accountable, therefore their decision to consider the possible amendment of the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation is furthermore not legitimate," Lekota said.

"President Ramaphosa has no legitimate mandate from South African voters to call for such an amendment. Similarly, the land hearings do not constitute a legitimate mandate from South African voters as not all South African voters could participate in these hearings."

He said the ANC was working hard to destroy what former president Nelson Mandela built for South Africans.

"We are saying no, we cannot accept your destroying our constitutional order. We will go the international community as we did under apartheid...the ANC sent [former ANC president] Oliver Tambo to the international community to go tell them 'a disaster was happening back in South Africa where we are denied our rights and appeal for support', we will do the same today."

Kriel cited Zimbabwe as an example of the "disaster" resulting from infringing on property rights.

"Many people have tried to make this a racial issue. The fact is the disrespect of property rights will affect everyone across communities...we see that through the high unemployment rate in Zimbabwe, I hope this is a start for communities to join hands [against amendment of Constitution]."

Similar with Afriforum, Lekota has been vocal against land expropriation saying that the ANC was being "reckless and gambling with people's lives".

African News Agency (ANA)

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