Speaker, the Committee’s report – which, in part, kicks the ball to touch – actually draws a clear line in the sand.
It says to the electorate that a vote for the ANC and its ilk in the upcoming election is a vote:
For the arbitrary confiscation of land without compensation;
The weakening of our agriculture sector and the erosion of our national food security;
The attrition of business and investor confidence; the continued stagnation of our economy and an acceleration of job losses;
The likelihood of further sovereign credit ratings downgrades; and
The continued polarisation of our society – at a time when we all desperately need to work together to turn our country around and head in the opposite direction to which the ruling party is intent in driving us to.
Speaker, it is hard not to draw parallels between the ANC and other populist movements who sell their party faithful snake oil remedies which ultimately lead everyone to ruin, and the likes of crack-pot religious leaders who led their faithful to ideological mass suicides – like Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple.
Speaker my party, the Congress of the People, has been consistent on this matter:
We stand in defence of the Constitution;
We are adamant that there is simply no moral or rational need to make any amendment to the Constitution to effect the legitimate need for land reform;
We fully support the imperative for Land Reform;
Likewise, we are adamant that no one should be arbitrarily deprived of property;
We support the notion of Land Expropriation for public purpose or in the public interest, provided that such expropriation is not arbitrary, meets Constitutional muster, and that the owner receives just and equitable compensation – having regard to all relevant circumstances involved therein.
As COPE, we believe that the findings of the High Level Panel must be acknowledged and its recommendations implemented.
We believe that much of the legitimate demand for land is in fact the need for access to housing opportunities, as many migrate to our urban centres, in search of jobs and access to services and a better life.
We believe that land and agricultural reform can be achieved on a win-win basis if we are brought together as a nation instead of advancing populist rhetoric – hiding abject failure behind racial invectives.
That South Africa belongs to all who live in it.
That we share a common history (however painful and divisive that may be) and, inexorably, we share a common destiny – a common future.
We believe, Speaker, that we must return to ‘Rainbow-ism’:
That understanding that we belong together;
That belief that, if we stand together, we can heal the divisions of the past and build a better and brighter future for all.
As COPE we believe that, now more than ever, that those of us that believe in our shared destiny need to stand together.
We can guard our Constitution and our Bill of Rights from attack.
All that is required from each and every one of you is to mobilise your fellow citizen to vote – vote in defence of our Constitution; vote to Save South Africa, vote for a Fresh Start, vote for COPE.
By Deidre Carter
Congress of the People