CAPE TOWN - ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga on Wednesday said Parliament is not a "shebeen" where spurious allegations can be made with impunity.
Motshekga was referring to Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota accusing President Jacob Zuma of violating his oath of office by not protecting the rights of artist Brett Murray. Murray's painting of Zuma with his genitals exposed caused a storm of controversy in recent weeks.
Zuma and the ANC took the matter to the high court, but the legal challenge was withdrawn after the Goodman Gallery, where the painting, entitled 'The Spear' was first displayed, agreed not to show it in future.
Lekota's statement was met with loud jeers and angry retorts by ruling party MPs in the National Assembly.
The former ANC chairperson took his frustrations out on Zuma, accusing him of looking the other way while an artist's right to expression was trampled on.
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said he wanted Lekota to be forced to withdraw the statement.
"Such a statement it very serious. It can lead to impeachment."
A ruling on Nzimande’s request will likely be made on Thursday.
(Edited by Lisa Bartlett)