Quote of the week

An ‘important purpose of section 34 [of the Constitution] is to guarantee the protection of the judicial process to persons who have disputes that can be resolved by law’ and that the right of access to court is ‘foundational to the stability of an orderly society. It ensures the peaceful, regulated and institutionalised mechanisms to resolve disputes, without resorting to self-help. The right of access to court is a bulwark against vigilantism, and the chaos and anarchy which it causes. Construed in this context of the rule of law and the principle against self-help in particular, access to court is indeed of cardinal importance’.The right guaranteed s34 would be rendered meaningless if court orders could be ignored with impunity:the underlying purposes of the right — and particularly that of avoidance of self-help — would be undermined if litigants could decide which orders they wished to obey and which they wished to ignore.

Plasket AJ
Victoria Park Ratepayers' Association v Greyvenouw CC and others (511/03) [2003] ZAECHC 19 (11 April 2003)
23 September 2008

Eleven Ministers resign!

Just received the following press release from the Presidency:

Statement on the resignation of members of Cabinet and Deputy Ministers

President Thabo Mbeki has, to date, received letters of resignation from the following members of Cabinet which, regretfully, he has had to accept:

1. Deputy President

2. Minister of Defence

3. Minister of Finance

4. Minister in the Presidency, Dr. Essop Pahad

5. Minister of Intelligence

6. Minister of Correctional Services

7. Minister of Public Enterprises

8. Minister of Science and Technology

9. Minister of Public Works

10. Minister of Provincial and Local Government

11. Minister of Public Service and Administration

The following Deputy Ministers have also tendered their resignations:

1. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Aziz Pahad

2. Deputy Minister of Finance and

3. Deputy Minister of Correctional Services

The resignations will be effective from the day that the President’s resignation takes effect. All the Ministers have expressed their availability to assist the incoming administration in the hand-over process and any other assistance that might be sought from them. President Mbeki thanked the Deputy President, the Ministers and the Deputy Ministers for their dedicated service to the nation and wished them well in their future endeavours.

This means a third of the cabinet is gone. The new President will now have to appoint new ministers from among the members of the National Assembly and will have to do so sooner rather than later.

For me these resignation suggests that the new ANC leadership has some serious problems on its hands. While they specifically requested Ministers to stay on, elevn have now decided to resign. This suggests that the unity of which Gwede Mantashe spoke on Saturday is a long way off. I cannot but wonder whether this might not suggest that there are some truth to the rumours about discussions  among some cabinet Ministers to form a new political party.

Whatever happens, Gwede Mantashe and Jacob Zuma must be rather upset by these new developments as it creates the impression of an ANC leadership not in control of its members.

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