Quote of the week

Mr Zuma is no ordinary litigant. He is the former President of the Republic, who remains a public figure and continues to wield significant political influence, while acting as an example to his supporters… He has a great deal of power to incite others to similarly defy court orders because his actions and any consequences, or lack thereof, are being closely observed by the public. If his conduct is met with impunity, he will do significant damage to the rule of law. As this Court noted in Mamabolo, “[n]o one familiar with our history can be unaware of the very special need to preserve the integrity of the rule of law”. Mr Zuma is subject to the laws of the Republic. No person enjoys exclusion or exemption from the sovereignty of our laws… It would be antithetical to the value of accountability if those who once held high office are not bound by the law.

Khampepe j
Secretary of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector including Organs of State v Zuma and Others (CCT 52/21) [2021] ZACC 18
14 August 2023

On the pardon power of the President

The mercy power also triggers philosophical reflection. Any discussion of the mercy power must rest on the fundamental tension between a conception of clemency as a rarely used “act of grace” within the sole discretion of an executive, or a routine, rule-bound process, publicly transparent and amenable to judicial review. Max Weber’s distinction between legitimate charismatic authority and bureaucracy may be relevant here: is a grant of clemency a form of charisma, an other-worldly power outside the
rational world of legal rules, or a routine administrative decision that is repetitive, subject to explicit criteria, and consistent?

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