Regard must be had to the higher standard of conduct expected from public officials, and the number of falsehoods that have been put forward by the Public Protector in the course of the litigation. This conduct included the numerous “misstatements”, like misrepresenting, under oath, her reliance on evidence of economic experts in drawing up the report, failing to provide a complete record, ordered and indexed, so that the contents thereof could be determined, failing to disclose material meetings and then obfuscating the reasons for them and the reasons why they had not been previously disclosed, and generally failing to provide the court with a frank and candid account of her conduct in preparing the report. The punitive aspect of the costs order therefore stands.
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.BACK TO TOP