Lekota kicked out of Assembly

2012-10-30 15:58
Mosiuoa Lekota (Die Burger)

Mosiuoa Lekota (Die Burger)

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Cape Town - Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota was told to leave the National Assembly on Tuesday after he refused to withdraw statements about President Jacob Zuma.

A week ago, Lekota made a statement in the House calling for Zuma to be "impeached".

Among other things, he said Zuma's office had, on 19 October, "defied an order, by the Supreme Court of Appeal, to hand over the abbreviated transcripts of the tapes that permitted criminal charges to be dropped or withdrawn against himself".

He was referring to the refusal to release transcripts of the secret recordings which were the basis of the decision to drop corruption, fraud, and racketeering charges against Zuma in early 2009.

Lekota said Zuma was bound by his oath of office to obey, respect and uphold the Constitution.

"As his office and his lawyers act daily under his direct authority, the inescapable conclusion is that the president is illegally refusing to be bound by... the Constitution, which binds all persons to obey a judicial order, and there are no exceptions," he said at the time.

On Tuesday, Deputy Speaker Nomaindia Mfeketo said Lekota should have brought his allegations to the Assembly by way of a substantive motion, and ruled his statements "unparliamentary".

She asked him to withdraw the statements. Lekota refused, saying the issue was sub-judice and he could not pre-empt a pending court ruling.

Following a number of ensuing points of order and repeated requests by Mfeketo for him to leave the chamber, he and most other Cope MPs eventually walked out.

Giving notice of a motion soon afterwards, ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga asked for Lekota to be sanctioned for "misleading Parliament".

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) had "issued no such order against the president or the president's office", he said.

In terms of the SCA's judgment, the judicial order was directed at the National Prosecuting Authority.

"There was no order by the Supreme Court of Appeal against the president or his office to produce any record or documents," Motshekga said.

"By claiming in the House that the president has defied a lawful judicial order, Lekota has lied to Parliament, which is a serious transgression in terms of the practices, precedents, and conventions governing the business of the House."

Lekota should thus be sanctioned for knowingly presenting false information before Parliament, he said.

Later on Tuesday, Lekota said Parliament and the Constitution imposed a duty on MPs to make "sharp and severe criticisms protected by privilege".

The president enjoyed no protection in this regard, he said.

The freedom to criticise the president in the House on issues of governance could not only be by way of a substantive motion.

"The use of a substantive motion requires building of support and cannot be done by a single party on its own.

"Robust criticism of the president and the whole Cabinet is enshrined in the Constitution and allowed under the rules of the South African parliament," Lekota said.

- SAPA

Read more on:    cope  |  anc  |  mathole motshekga  |  jacob zuma  |  mosiuoa lekota  |  politics
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