Another court dismisses Lekota case

19 March 2012

The Office of the ANC Chief Whip welcomes the judgment of the Western Cape High Court against Cope leader Mosioua Lekota’s application for leave to appeal the court’s 2012 judgement against him regarding the un-parliamentary remarks he made against the President in the National Assembly.

Last year Lekota filed a failed court challenge against the National Assembly Deputy Speaker’s ruling last year, which declared his accusation that President Jacob Zuma has violated his oath of office out of order. Lekota was ordered to leave the House after refusing to withdraw his accusation, which he made without following procedure. In terms of parliament’s established practice and procedures, an MP who wishes to bring allegations of improper conduct should do so by way of a substantive motion.

Following his failed court challenge, Lekota filed an application with the High Court for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeals. The High Court yesterday rejected his application, with costs, on the basis that it has no prospect of success. On 31 January 2013 the Constitutional Court also rejected his application to have his appeal heard by the court’s full bench.

In its ruling, the Western Cape High Court indeed concurred with our longstanding view that the deputy speaker’s ruling did not mean that Lekota was forbidden from making accusations against the President. But, as an MP, he is bound by the rules of parliament to do so through a substantive motion containing allegations which, if true, would in the opinion of the Speaker warrant a decision.

It is unfortunate that it had to take exorbitant legal costs for Lekota, who is an experienced MP and former custodian of House rules in his capacity as presiding officer in the NCOP, to understand simple and time-honoured parliamentary practices and procedures.

The ruling of the High Court reaffirms our view that dissatisfaction with parliamentary processes and rulings should be dealt with internally without the involvement of the judiciary. Calling upon the judiciary to adjudicate on internal matters of Parliament undermines the doctrine of separation of powers and suggests that Parliament cannot run its internal business.

Issued by the office of the ANC Chief Whip

Moloto Mothapo 082 370 6930