Quote of the week

Over the last 150 days we have learned much about the power of the habitual in post-millennial, post-apartheid South Africa. We have heard it in the grumbling, cavilling, quarrelling and grousing about the logic (or lack of) of government decrees. We have also seen it in the defiance of logic among the many bourgeois folks who mistook their entitlement for rights, whether to go running, do yoga on the beach, surf, get takeaway coffees, or to purchase items subjected to restricted trade… We saw it in the contradictory messages relayed by official government channels, in the conflict between some experts advising government, between government officials and such experts, and in the ways in which opposition parties contradicted themselves as they opposed government proclamations.

Angelo Fick
Johannesburg Review of Books
20 September 2008

Thabo Mbek to resign as President

I am reliably told that the ANC will announce in the next hour or two that President Thabo Mbeki will resign as President of the country. If this is correct, the big question then is what happens to the Deputy President and his cabinet and who will act as President until a new President is elected.

The Times reports this morning that Baleka Mbete will take over as acting President, but as I read the Constitution this is not possible unless the entire cabinet resigns as well. Even then the Speaker can only act as President until the National Assembly designates another of its members as acting President. The reason for this is that the separation of powers between the legislature and the executive makes it unwise for the Speaker of Parliament to head the national executive and only requires this as a last resort for as short a period as possible.

The SABC plans a live broadcast to carry this announcment. We will then hear what wil happen next and what the position of the cabinet is in all of this.

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