Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota refused to backtrack on his spy claims against President Cyril Ramaphosa and insisted that he did make incriminating claims against his fellow freedom fighters in 1974. 

Ramaphosa appeared in Parliament on Thursday to respond to questions on his SONA address, but he spent time clarifying that he had not sold out his fellow comrades. 

This response by the president was necessitated by Lekota's unexpected bizarre claims made during his question session in Parliament on Wednesday. 

Lekota, a former chairperson of the ANC, said during the debate on Wednesday that Ramaphosa had sold them out in 1974.

"When it was difficult, you (Ramaphosa) wrote to the special branch that we put communist ideas in your head, in doing so you condemned us to the special branch,” Lekota said in Parliament.

"I say this because the special branch rewarded you and they sent you home and we headed to Robben Island," Lekota alleged.

Ramaphosa, who was also arrested at the same time as Lekota for his student activism, responded by denying the allegations and admitted there was pressure from the police for him to turn against his fellow comrades, but he did buckle under pressure.

“I was in solitary confinement for six months before anyone came to talk to me. My father, who was a policeman, came to see me. The issue they wanted from me was to give evidence against Saths Cooper, Muntu Myeza, Lekota and others,” said Ramaphosa.

“I can testify I have never been a spy, I have never worked with the enemy. All I have ever done in my life is my commitment to my people,” he said.

Lekota responded to Ramaphosa outside Parliament while addressing the media and poured cold water on the president's response. He questioned why police would try to pressure Ramaphosa if he had not provided them with incriminating evidence. 

“He has said that the police wanted him to testify against me and that they put pressure on him to testify against me. The police will not want to you testify against somebody unless you have said something incriminating about that person. We read the statements because our lawyers, after the state's case was closed, they asked us to get hold of statements made by co-detainees because they believed there might have been things that they have said which we can use,” said Lekota. 

"That is when we got that statement of his when he said we put the communist idea in his head. But it laid the foundation for the charge. They got other people to do that. The statement he made to the police constituted the foundation of the charge sheet that sent us to jail. Even if he didn't ultimately testify, but his statement was one of the key documents that put me behind bars," he said.

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