Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota File picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
On Wednesday Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of selling out Struggle leaders to the Special Branch during the 1970s. He made the remarks as part of his speech during the debate on Ramaphosa's State of the Nation address.

Cope's only MP in the National Assembly started his speech by saying he wanted to respond to an invitation for a trip which the president had extended to him.

Lekota reminded the president that Struggle leaders were challenged by Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko to accompany him on a trip of a different nature around 1972, one which would see many anti-apartheid leaders taken into detention in the next couple of years.

"I want to say to you, Mr President, that we were invited on a trip to the struggle by the leader of the students of our time, the late Steve Biko, who said to us that we must fight the struggle and said that ‘in case of danger or living conditions that threaten human life, we must accept life for what it is or not at all’.

“It did not take very long, two years or so, because it was in 1972. In 1974 we went into detention, among others, and in the course of that we had to respond to this challenge. You invited me last week, we had to respond to that challenge, your invitation last week was late," Lekota said to loud cheering from the opposition benches.



He claimed that when confronted with the difficult conditions of detention, Ramaphosa wrote to the Special Branch claiming that his fellow prisoners "put Communist ideas in your head".

"In doing so, you condemned us to the Special Branch," Lekota said. He went on to claim that Ramaphosa was rewarded for this by the Special Branch, who sent him home while his comrades headed to Robben Island.

Referring to the invitation Ramaphosa extended to him last week, Lekota said the president should have issued that invitation back then and should have accompanied his comrades to Robben Island.

“We should have travelled together to the island to serve years for the struggle of our people. You made your choice then. I will not join you on your trip,” Lekota said.

He ended his speech by saying that he had made his choice and Ramaphosa too had made a choice.

"I made my choice to go down with our people. You made your choice to go with them. Now you are inviting us to join you in the corruption with Bosasa, in the corruption with all these things you were doing with the others. I'm sorry sir, I will stay with the people .... The day we get out of there it will not be to go to the fleshpots of Egypt. It will be to go with our people when freedom is there for everybody".

IOL