COPE leader Mosiuoa Lekota. Picture: SOWETAN
COPE leader Mosiuoa Lekota. Picture: SOWETAN

COPE president Mosiuoa Lekota has criticised the land expropriation public hearings in Limpopo, saying the process was being "stage managed" by the EFF.

He was speaking to Business Day on the sidelines of the hearings on potential amendments to section 25 of the Constitution, in Mokopane on Thursday.

Parliament’s joint constitutional review committee is in the province engaging with members of the public on whether a review of section 25 of the Constitution is needed, to enable the expropriation of land in the public interest without compensation.

Lekota said that as parliamentarians, they could not allow EFF leader Julius Malema to pick who could address the committee during the hearings.

Lekota and Malema got into an altercation on Wednesday after the COPE leader confronted Malema about his "interference".

"The sad part is they (the EFF) really think that politics is a cheating game. To start with, politics is not a game, it’s a serious matter of life and death — the decisions we are making will lead to the deaths of human beings," he said.

COPE is against the proposals to change Section 25, warning that if land is expropriated without compensation, war will break out.

Lekota also questioned why committee chairperson Vincent Smith had allowed Malema to co-lead the hearings.

On Wednesday, Malema had to intervene repeatedly to calm the crowds in Marble Hall, also assisting Smith with the selection process of the speaking order.

Lekota also complained about the extension of the time allocated for the hearings, saying the decision to continue with the proceedings after 4pm on Wednesday was unfair to other provinces, and against Parliament’s decisions.