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Lekota ordered out of parliament

By Sapa | Jun 12, 2012 | COMMENTS [ 15 ]

Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota was ordered to leave the National Assembly chamber on Tuesday after refusing to withdraw remarks he made in the House last week.

During the presidency budget vote debate last Wednesday, Lekota accused President Jacob Zuma of violating his oath of office.

Lekota said, among other things, the president had failed to uphold his constitutional obligation to protect the rights of artist Brett Murray, who depicted Zuma with his genitals exposed, and City Press editor Ferial Haffajee, who refused to remove an image of the painting from the newspaper's website.

At the time, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande asked Deputy Speaker Nomaindia Mfeketo, who was in the chair, to rule whether Lekota could make such a "serious statement" about Zuma.

"If a member of this House can stand and make a serious statement that the president has violated his oath of office... Such a statement is a serious thing. Madam chair I ask you to rule," Nzimande said.

Mfeketo said the matter would be ruled on later.

On Tuesday, Mfeketo ruled that members could make such allegations of improper conduct only by way of a substantive motion and ordered Lekota to withdraw his remarks.

Lekota refused, saying his conscience would not allow him to withdraw.

He maintained he was exercising his constitutional right to freedom of speech in Parliament, accompanied by such privilege as enjoyed by MPs.

Mfeketo then ordered him to leave the chamber. As he left the House he was joined by a large number of Cope and Democratic Alliance MPs.

In a statement afterwards, ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga welcomed Mfeketo's ruling.

"An allegation of violation of office by a head of state is a serious matter that cannot be made lightly or for mere political posturing, as Lekota has done," he said.

In terms of Parliament's established practice and procedures, an MP who wanted to bring allegations of improper conduct should do so by way of a substantive motion.

"Parliaments all over the world have in place rules, conventions, practices, and codes of conduct to which MPs must adhere in order to preserve decorum, respect, and prestige of the state's legislative organs."

The ruling by the deputy speaker would dissuade "opportunist" MPs from abusing freedom of speech and parliamentary privileges to impugn the integrity of others without following proper procedure, Motshekga said.

However, Lekota said the truth remained that in debate on the president's budget vote, where the president was present, members could assert, on the basis of argument, that the president had indeed violated his oath of office. It was then for the president to respond.

Zuma had opportunity to rebut this accusation and in no way did it merit the withdrawal of the point by Lekota on the basis of the ruling by the deputy speaker.

The ruling gave no cognisance to the nature and scope of the debate taking place and the fact that the member of the executive could be challenged to the extent that he was by Lekota.

"Cope believes the ruling party has made a miscalculation of gargantuan proportion in attempting to curtail criticism of the president in the House, where the president has equal standing with all other members," Lekota said.

 

COMMENTS [ 15 ]

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hamba nja

Jun 12, 2012 4:47 | 0 replies

isididi lesi, he failed ku ANC, go well go shell

Jun 13, 2012 2:13 | 0 replies

As long as the ANC has a president who had unprotected sex with a HIV + lady, made his friends daughter pregnant, got paid off by a muslim guy in Durban etc..... he will have to suffer the consequences and the ANC will go down in the mud with him.

Go Lekoto go!! You have every right to stand by your principles.


Ps. Mfeketo!!! Now we know what job she got after she messed up so badly in the Western Cape!! Parliament deserves her!!

Jun 13, 2012 11:27 | 0 replies

Why is it that ANC doent want to be opposed? lord have mes!!!!!!!!

Jun 13, 2012 9:8 | 0 replies

Lekota must not back wn,viva Lekota Viva

Jun 13, 2012 9:3 | 0 replies

Lekota must not back down,viva Lekota Viva

Jun 13, 2012 9:3 | 0 replies

The point on the table is Zuma failed to protect the rights of a citizen.When anc mobilized their blind supporters to intimidate and threaten a law abiding citizen in his name he kept quite.The oath of his office states clearly that the president shall protect the constitution and citizens rights and in this case he failed to so.

Jun 13, 2012 8:54 | 0 replies

@kutsukuyi
I have a question for ZUMA supporters. Did ZUMA protect Brett Murray rights, Yes or No?

______________________________

I bet you they will call you names if they can respond. A sign indicative to ill-mannerism and lacking thoughts.

Jun 13, 2012 8:53 | 0 replies

@Mudidi
hamba nja
______________________________________________

Cdr @Mudidi, One Greeck Philosopher Socrates postulated these in his time " First he postulated the three T test, i guess you have heard about them." And then he went on to postulate this norm , i quote" Criticism is futile is like a homing pigeon it always returns home" . So, coming to hamba nja your comment, i found it loosely infantile. We are all members/supporters of ANC/YL. But hey facts are fact, if you have seen the parliament debate you should have have seem Lekota read from a parliament book note some act as reference to his utterance. People like you, Mathole Motshekga,Blade and the Mfeneko the house speaker are blinded by what Blade would call indigestive-feeble-rhetoric- support for JZ, of which i would not have any qualms with you if you do. Its your freedom of expression. Listen to facts before blurbe.

Jun 13, 2012 8:51 | 0 replies

I have a question for ZUMA supporters. Did ZUMA protect Brett Murray rights, Yes or No?

Jun 13, 2012 8:39 | 0 replies

Some of the people who followed you actually most of them collaborated with the regime. Don't celebrate this its not good for you and your children. You failed as a primier, you failed as a minister now you want to fail as a freedom fighter and entertain division. Where is Mbhazima reconcille with him. Get help mfowethu

Jun 12, 2012 11:34 | 0 replies