The motion aims to have parliament declare South Africa’s entire Free State province, as well as areas of four more regions, as part of Lesotho.
“I hope that after the debate, our country will be returned to us as should have long been,” Lipholo told AFP ahead of the debate.
The disputed regions were historically inhabited by the Basothos, a people from southern Africa’s Bantu ethnic group who represent a large majority in Lesotho.
The return of Basothos’ lands was the BCM‘s top campaign issue ahead of national elections last year and is a popular topic among the opposition.
Were the motion to pass in the assembly, it would kick off a process that could see the territorial claim turned into law.
Lesotho land reclamation dilemma
Lesotho, with a population of about two million, is entirely surrounded by South Africa, with a population of 60 million, and on which its economy largely depends.
The government looks unlikely to pick a fight with Pretoria but has yet to comment on the issue.
The motion is based on a 1962 United Nations resolution that recognised the right to self-determination and independence for the people of Basutoland – as Lesotho was then called.
“This is about restoring the dignity of the Basotho people and giving them back their stolen land,” Lipholo said.
“We are not saying that the Basotho people will live in those areas, but we want those areas to be part of Lesotho.”
The debate has sparked controversy, with some experts arguing that Lesotho does not have the military or economic power to take on South Africa, while others believe that the motion is simply a way for the opposition to gain political leverage.
“The motion is more of a political statement than a practical proposal,” said political analyst Thabo Thakalekoala.
“The government is unlikely to support it, and even if it were to pass, it would be difficult to enforce.”
However, for the BCM and many opposition lawmakers, the issue is a matter of justice and historical reparations.
“We cannot sit idly by and watch as our ancestral land is taken from us,” Lipholo said.
“We must fight for what is rightfully ours.”