Chief whips slug it out after Lekota incident

2012-10-27 00:00

THE office of the ANC Chief Whip in Parliament yesterday took a swipe at Congress of the People president Mosiuoa Lekota for his calls to impeach President Jacob Zuma.

“Mr Lekota has no evidence to support his allegations to stand as a proper motion in the House. In the absence of any evidence to support his allegations, his ‘motion’ is therefore tantamount to defamation of character,” the office of ANC chief whip said in a statement.

The chief whip said it would now give notice of a motion to have Lekota censured for undermining the dignity of the Office of the President and deliberately misleading Parliament.

Lekota could not be reached as his cellphone went unanswered late yesterday afternoon.

The ANC’s statement followed a meeting of the Multi-Party Chief Whips’ Forum on Wednesday where parties discussed Tuesday’s proceedings when Lekota was ordered out of Parliament by Deputy Speaker NomaIndia Mfeketo when he refused to withdraw statements he made that Zuma be impeached.

The meeting was called after opposition parties accused Mfeketo and ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga of abusing house rules and stifling freedom of expression.

Referring to the multi-party meeting, the office of the ANC Chief Whip said it was agreed to respect the rules of Parliament and uphold the decorum of Parliament.

“The responsibility of preserving the image of this institution rests on the shoulders of all of us,” the statement said.

Motshsekga’s office also rejected as unfounded and baseless accusations that the ANC stifled freedom of expression in Parliament.

“We have the worrying trend amongst opposition parties to claim that their right to express themselves freely is infringed upon whenever negative rulings are made against them,” it said, adding that MPs who wished to make allegations of improper conduct should submit a substantive motion.

IFP Chief Whip Koos van der Merve said the Chief Whips’ meeting was an open discussion.

“It looks like from now things will be much more smooth. I’m quite satisfied. I don’t think that would happen again,” he said.

The DA Chief Whip Watty Watson said the integrity of Parliament was not undermined by the opposition that objected to biased rulings being made by presiding officers.

“If the ANC wants to restore respect for Parliament then the ANC caucus should deal with the conduct of their own Chief Whip.

“For too long he has gotten away with abusing the rules of Parliament. The DA will no longer remain silent on his behaviour,” Watson said.

• mayibongwe.maqhina

@witness.co.za

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