COPE leader Lekota warns SA land grabbers, ‘whites bought their land’.

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COPE leader Mosiuoa Lekota has announced that he will not relent in his efforts to secure justice for the oppressed.

According to Lekota the constitution is there to protect everyone irrespective of race.

Earlier, Mr Lekota reiterated his long-held position that white people who own land in South Africa bought it. So if the government wants their land‚ it must pay for it.

‘I want to kill this myth that there are white families that were given land for free,’ he says, explaining why he is against expropriation without compensation.

Lekota said the preamble of the Constitution clearly indicates SA does not belong to a group or a certain race‚ but to all who live in it.

He said the values enshrined in the Constitution are meant to redress the injustices of the past‚ but not by attempting to treat blacks as a superior race.

He rejected the view perpetuated by some political commentators that white people received land for free from the apartheid government‚ and should therefore not be compensated.

“I want to kill this myth that there are white families that were given land for free. That is not true. It was not given [to whites] for free. Never!

“Remember this is a capitalist society. You may have had some deals like the fraud we are experiencing in our time where government officials can be corrupt. You may have had something like that. But as a general rule‚ everybody had to buy the property that they have.

“I’m saying to you … go to any white family that you like. Show me a family that will not be able to show you a title-deed for the land they bought.

“Go to the deeds office; check there‚ whether there is any property that was given free to anybody.… This is another thing you can help the public with. Check and see if you can find that Van Rooyen‚ Van Meulen who … was given land free‚” Lekota said.

He said if government needed land for development‚ there was already provision in the Constitution for expropriation‚ providing the state compensates owners.

Lekota said it was true that the apartheid government took land from Africans‚ but not that it was freely handed out to white people.

“People think that what happened to this land is that it went to the government and the government gave it freely to the whites‚ which is not true. It got registered in the deeds office…. They recorded that this property which once belonged to So-and-so has now been taken by government.

“Later‚ the apartheid government made these properties available for the whites to buy. They bought it — but not all of it. They could not buy all of it. White people are just about 10% of the population. The majority of the land I am talking about is still in the hands of government.”