In a fierce reaction to an article written about Lekota, over what he said about Ramaphosa in parliament, The Congress of the People (Cope) has come out in defence of leader Mosiuoa Lekota claiming a recent report by former ANC MP and South African ambassador to Ireland Melanie Verwoerd was misinformed.
Verwoerd, in a News24 column, questioned the motive behind Lekota’s accusations that Ramaphosa had colluded with the Secret Branch, which allegedly led to Lekota and other comrades’ incarceration on Robben Island.
During day two of the debate on the state of the nation address, Lekota told members of parliament that Ramaphosa had written to the apartheid Special Branch in the 1970s, claiming his fellow struggle comrades had put communist ideas in his head. This was in an apparent bid to avoid imprisonment on Robben Island.
Ramaphosa the next day addressed Lekota’s allegations and told the public gallery that he had never been a spy. Verwoerd in her column wrote that Lekota was only successful in generating a lot of media attention and making noise. She questioned his timing of the allegations and failed to understand what Lekota was really trying to achieve.
She assumed Lekota had possibly gained access to the information in recent times, which would explain why he had brought up the allegations during the Sona debate, and not earlier.
“So the question is, who gave him the information? Was it his friends at AfriForum, or some of his hunting buddies who might have connections to the old apartheid spooks? Or did it come from some post-1994 spooks who are not happy with the president’s recent announcement that the intelligence service will be overhauled? He should tell us.”
Melanie Verwoerd is the beneficiary of both apartheid&democracy. She should know on which issues to comment #News24Column @News24_SA @MYANC @pakesdikgetsi @vanitacoetzee @Dclantis @MTLekota @RodgerFerguson @DeidreCarterMP @TheCitizen_News @SABCNewsOnline @Radio702 @IOL @eNCA
— Team COPE (@COPE_SA) February 20, 2019
Two questions remained, which Lekota needed to answer, according to Verwoerd. Who gave him the information and why did he not privately sort the matter out with Ramaphosa to clear the air.
She accused the Cope leader of using parliamentary privilege for the “betrayal” of Ramaphosa.
“Having listened carefully to both Lekota and the president’s response, I have no doubt that Lekota was being used. The question is by whom and to what end?”
Cope then retaliated to Verwoerd in a series of tweets, deciding to among other things attack her history with the ANC. They alleged she was parachuted into the ANC as a mere symbol of reconciliation.
“Her arrogance to decide who must be believed or not about the history of the struggle is amazing.”
They said Lekota had never in fact outright said Ramaphosa was a spy or a state witness, and that it was actually Ramaphosa who had spoken about a “state witness.”
The party accused Ramaphosa of having created more questions than answers in his response and questioned how his father had been allowed to visit him while he was detained. Other detainees had never had visits from anyone, as no one was meant to have known where they were held.
Ramaphosa had earlier told parliament: “I was arrested and transported to Pretoria Central Prison, where I was in solitary confinement for a solid six months before anyone came to talk to me. At the time, my father was a policeman and, through his efforts, I finally got to see him and he explained to me that they told him they had a lot of things against me.”
However, Cope was apparently not buying this as a full explanation.