COPE leader Mosiuoa Lekota File picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
When Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of selling out Struggle leaders to the Special Branch during the 1970s he was not speaking from a prepared speech. Lekota's speech for the debate on Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address was sent out to media houses earlier in the day and differed vastly from the one he delivered to a standing ovation from the Economic Freedom Fighters.

Read the actual speech prepared for Lekota here:

The real State of our Nation is Speaker, not to be found in President Ramaphosa’s address.

Rather, Speaker, it is to be found just outside Parliament’s precinct, on the other side of the fence.

There you will find broken and unmaintained benches; filth and squalor; and unemployed, vulnerable and destitute members of our society eking out a desperate daily existence on the pavement.

They were removed from sight – so as not to soil and sully the spectacle and mirage that SONA is; and so as to also hide the true extent of the sad state of our nation: of its betrayal.


A few meters away, a political elite, primarily from the governing party, live a high and plentiful life of pomp and ceremony, more interested in abusing power and looting state resources for gluttonous self-enrichment – at the expense of the nation.

Trust, Speaker, is a relational concept: it involves an individual making him or herself vulnerable to another individual, group or institution that has the capacity to harm or to betray him or her.

I listened to your address, Mr President, and what struck me was what you did not say.

The real state of our Nation is that we face profound and unprecedented economic, social, political and social cohesion crises.

The daily revelations of how our state was captured and turned into a mafia criminal enterprise to serve the personal greed of those in your party whom the nation placed its trust, have undermined the hope of the nation and the aspirations of the majority for a better today and tomorrow.

Because of the betrayal of trust and abdication of the moral responsibility by present and past leaders of your party, the moral authority of the state has been, appropriately so, effectively usurped by the moral authority of the various Commissions of Inquiry.

The real State of the Nation is one where, Mr President, your government is effectively illegitimate.

The Constitutional Court found both Parliament (through your party’s majoritarian tyranny) and the Executive to have breached the Constitution.

And you, Mr President, cannot sweet talk yourself out of complicity, because you have been part of the corrupt regime for the past 5 years, and Deputy President of the ruling party elite for 10 years.

It is you and your party that continues to lead the assault on the founding values of our Constitution by undermining property rights and other provisions of the Bill of Rights.

The real State of the Nation is that you, Mr President, were part of the Executive that presided over the destruction of ESKOM and other SOE's.

You and the ANC destroyed the economy, condemned growing numbers of people to an unemployment and poverty trap; and that destroyed the fiscal capacity of the state, enabled endemic corruption, and caused the current debt trap of nearly R3 trillion Rand.

Today we have to desperately scrape around for money just to meet interest repayments, at the expense of service delivery and poverty eradication.

And it is your party that has polarized the nation by pursuing narrow, racist and populist rhetoric in order to buy cheap votes.


You and the ANC have broken and betrayed the Nation’s trust.

The disturbing evidence presented to our commissions, place your party, and many of its former and current leaders, in and out of government, at the epicentre of a treasonous criminal network.

There is hardly any senior ANC official or political office bearer and officials in all spheres of government, let alone ANC-connected tenderpreneurs, that has not been complicit in some corrupt act.

If the Rule of Law were to be equitably applied, and action taken against all those connected to your party guilty of ‘crimes against the state’, your party would simply shatter – or you would be forced out.


You and the ANC have lost the moral legitimacy to Govern: you betrayed and broke the Trust given to you.

You can’t even keep the lights on, nor keep the wheels of industry turning.

South Africa cries out for the election to office of ethical and patriotic men and women and renewed Hope; a new centre; a Fresh Start

COPE is part of this solution.